Trade unions and the informal economy in Zambia: Building strength or loosing ground?
- The increasing casualisation of labour forces trade unions globally to deal with a growing number of unprotected and unrepresented workers in what is dubbed by the unions, even if critically, as the informal economy. This paper assesses the impact and further potential of a direct and indirect intervention of the Zambian labour movement towards the informal economy, according to basic criteria like skills development, networking, innovation capacity and access to finance for micro-entrepreneurs. Through providing business development services, the unions also encourage informal sector organizations to associate themselves with Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), thereby strengthening the socio-political representation of the informal economy workers and the labour union movement as a whole. It still remains to be seen, however, to which extent NGO-like approaches that seem to be vital when opening towards the informal economy might compromise basic principles of the labour movement like effective, yet democratic and transparent structures based on mass membership.