Informal jobs have recovered jobs, but not income level

Incomes for domestic workers, homeworkers, street vendors and recyclers “are still well below pre-pandemic levels” in several cities around the world, including our nation’s capital. According to a study by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), these groups perceive the 64% of revenue recorded before the pandemic.

The report Covid-19 and informal work in 11 cities: pathways to recovery amid an ongoing crisispoints out that in Mexico City workers in these sectors could be employed four days a week, on average, before the health emergency, now the average is three days a week.

“Most of the respondents did not fully recover their Work capacity”. These economic activities are characterized by the fact that they are informal and that those who perform them live on a daily basis, so not working a day means not earning money.

Moreover, if they are in informal conditions, it is because those who employ them shirk their responsibility to register them with social security, but also because the insurance schemes for the self-employed are only a pilot program.

WIEGO researchers conducted the study in 11 cities in the world: Mexico City; Accra, Ghana; Ahmedabad, Delhi and Tiruppur, in India; Bangkok, Thailand; Dakar, Senegal; Durban, South Africa; Lima Peru; Pleven, Bulgaria, and New York, USA.

The government restrictions were the main obstacles for domestic workers, home workers, street vendors and recyclers (who in Mexico City are called pre-reclaimers). Disruptions to markets and supply chains were, and still are in some sectors, the second most important issue.

Although for the domestic workers, rather than government restrictions, the most important factor since the start of the pandemic, “was the attitude and hiring practices of their employers, rather than government restrictions.” And for the rebreathers, “to some degree, health issues” prevented them from continuing to work or do the shifts they used to.

Working from home, one of the sectors affected

Domestic workers recorded the second highest underemployment rate between 2020 and mid-2021. On average, in the 11 cities studied, they recovered after this period 91% of what they earned before the pandemic. But the difference is significant since in Pleven, they have fully recovered their income, while in Delhi “they only earn 10% of their previous income”.

In Mexico, in the second quarter of 2022, more than 150,000 domestic workers were still unable to be rehired, according to the National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE).

In the 11 cities, income and revenue collection permanent domestic workers “were much higher” than those of incoming and outgoing workers. By mid-2021, they had recouped 88% of their profits.

In April 2020, 73% of domestic workers the internal continued to operate against 32% of the external. By the end of 2021, 92% of factory workers had returned to work and received income, while 82% of female workers were already working in these 11 cities.

Domestic workers in Mexico City, Bangkok and Lima cited the unavailability of public transport and the fear of contracting the virus while using it as their main concerns. Additionally, they reported spending on personal protective equipment and covid-19 testing, which their employers requested.

Outsourcing and job insecurity

The home workers They were the most affected, mid-2021 they earned only 2% of what they received before the pandemic. Some of the activities included in this sector are the sewing of clothes, the packaging or assembly of various products, or the manufacture of items similar to handicrafts.

According to the WIEGO report, contract workers have had a greater impact, as they are “reliant on piece-work orders” and with factories closing and reducing production and demand both globally and national, there was no production for They could work and earn money.

The severity of the impact “demonstrates that the perceived economic benefits of ‘Work at home’ during the crisis, they did not apply to workers down the supply chain.

Moreover, it is a “predominantly female” sector, since in the world women represent 57% of those who work in this modality. However, little has been said about female unemployment in this activity.

Another group that was particularly affected was hawkersWell, although nine out of 10 have already returned to work, they have only recovered 60% of what they earned before the pandemic. Additionally, more than a quarter reported being harassed by law enforcement. “Local authorities in Lima and Mexico City have called public markets ‘centers of infection’.”

Only in Accra, Ahmedabad, Bangkok, Delhi, Durban and New York, the work of food vendors it was recognized as essential, but this did not exactly translate into ease of working in the first periods of restriction.

Regarding the people who work in garbage collection and by selecting it, they recovered 78% of their pre-covid-19 income. The report also highlights that 92% of men already earn the same salary as before the pandemic, compared to 67% of women.

The loss of your income is due to the closure of the recreational spacesselection and classification and fluctuations in selling prices. Since the pandemic, people engaged in this activity have noticed “greater competition and/or physical barriers to obtaining waste”.


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