Issue Briefs & Reports

Informal Economy | Discrimination | Transport Workers | Covid 19Digital Platform Worker Resources | WTO Issue Briefs | ILO Convention 190 | Telework Reports

Informal Economy

In order to provide workers and workers’ organizations, including unions, the tools to use existing ILO conventions and recommendations creatively to elicit new interpretations from the ILO supervisory system which broaden their scope to the obstacles confronting workers in the informal economy, the International Lawyers Assisting Workers (ILAW) Network and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) are producing a series of guidelines on a convention-by-convention basis. These guidelines identify the specific issues that workers in the informal economy face that are relevant to that convention and provide; existing ILO jurisprudence on point; and provide recommendations as to how workers and the organizations should frame their comments or complaints to obtain a favourable outcome from the supervisory system. It is our hope that workers and organizations, through consistent use of these guides, will help to develop a robust set of jurisprudence, which can be used to advocate for legal and institutional reforms at the national and regional levels.

The series will begin with guides on the ILO fundamental conventions and will be published on the ILAW ( and WIEGO ( websites as each one becomes available. Subsequent guides will focus on the governance and technical conventions and recommendations. We do not intend to cover every convention and recommendation; rather, we will focus on those with the greatest relevance for workers in the informal economy.

The ILAW Network is pleased to present a new report, Mapping Domestic Work and Employment Discrimination in Africa: A Study of Global and African Regional Human Rights Norms. This report looks at the domestic, regional and international legal frameworks regulating domestic work in nine countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, Mauritius and Lesotho.

The ILAW Network is pleased to announce the release of a new report, The Informal Economy and the Law in Uganda, authored by Robinah Kagoye (an ILAW Member). The report presents new research into the legal framework in Uganda as it pertains to the rights of workers in the informal economy and identifies potential legal strategies to ensure that all workers are recognized and fully protected in law and practice.


The ILAW Network is pleased to present our new report, A Promised Not Realised: The Right to Non-Discrimination in Work and Employment – a collaboration of the ILAW Network and Equal Rights Trust (ERT). This issue brief focuses on two main questions: (1) why does discrimination in the workplace persist despite the widespread adoption of laws and regulations that prohibit it? and (2) how can countries create enabling environments to effectively prevent workplace discrimination and remedy it when it occurs?

Transport Workers

The ILAW Network is pleased to present our new report, Widespread Exploitation in the EU Road Transport Industry: The Case of Central Asian Truck Drivers, written by Imke van Gardingen and Edwin Atema of Road Transport Due Diligence (RTDD). This research was supported by the Solidarity Centre and the International Lawyers for Workers (ILAW) Network. Read the full report here and an update here.

Covid 19

The ILAW Network is pleased to present our newest Issue Brief, Fighting for Lives and Livelihoods: Workers, the Pandemic and the Law, which includes an essay by Jason Moyer-Lee who analyzes how workers fought for their lives and livelihood during the COVID-19 pandemic by using the law to their advantage. It is accompanied by 11 country specific case studies that detail such wins by workers during the pandemic.

Digital Platform Worker Resources

  • Taken for a Ride 2: Accelerating Towards Justice (December 2022) (ENGLISH) (SPANISH)

The ILAW Network is pleased to present this update to its original Taken for a Ride Issue Brief, released in March of 2021. The opening essay and analysis by Jason Moyer Lee looks at trends in litigation, but also at new legislation and regulation efforts to combat misclassification and exploitation of workers on digital platforms and provides recommendations on how to create worker-centric legislation in this space. We would like to thank all the ILAW Network members who contributed to this update by sending in cases, providing summaries and analysis to make this as holistic as possible. The second section is a digest of key judicial decisions since March 2021, and the third section provides brief summaries on new laws and regulations that currently exist specifically focused on these workers. We know there are always new cases, legislation, and regulations happening, so please continue to send updates to so we are able to capture those updates in future issues of this report. Now available in English and Spanish

The ILAW Network is pleased to present this report, Taken for a Ride: Litigating the Digital Platform Model, which attempts to respond to requests from ILAW Network members and others for comparative analysis on the litigation taking place around the world against digital platforms such as Uber, Foodora, Deliveroo and many others.

This database is focused on draft laws, legislation and decisions regarding digital platform work in Latin America. This database compiles bills, administrative decisions, court rulings and unions agreements, from nine countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay).

WTO Issue Briefs

All states are obliged under international law to eradicate forced labour within their own territories. However, these obligations do not require states to eradicate forced labour in other states. At most, states are obliged to cooperate with each other to this end. It is possible that, in future, they may also restrict trade in services supplied using forced labour. This memorandum considers the legality of such measures under WTO law. Section 1 considers prohibitions on imports of forced labour products, first by looking at the obligations under the GATT 1994 which apply to such measures, and then by considering the exceptions to these obligations. Section 2 considers the equivalent two questions under the GATS Agreement in relation to restrictions on forced labour services.

This memo explains that under current WTO law, the ILO fundamental labor rights should already be protected under the ‘public morals’ clauses of the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In order to provide legal certainty, the memo calls for the adoption of an authoritative interpretation. In this manner, the WTO could affirmatively protect fundamental labor rights without the need for any new instruments or amendments to existing ones. Further, an authoritative interpretation does not require consensus, thus avoiding a veto by any one member state.

ILO Convention 190

After sustained campaigning by trade unionists and feminists, the Nigerian government ratified ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work (C190) on November 8, 2022. The ratification of C190 presents a critical opportunity to reform laws and policies in Nigeria to address gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) and other forms of violence and abuse at work, and presents expanded opportunities to seek justice under existing law. The report outlines the current legal framework in Nigeria regarding violence and harassment at work; examines key provisions of C190 and how to amend laws to fully realize these protections; and identifies opportunities for legal practitioners to utilize existing laws and mechanisms to ensure that all workers in Nigeria enjoy the fundamental right to be free from GBVH and other forms of violence and harassment in the world of work.

Telework Reports

The ILAW Network, in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) “Toma Partido” project,  analyzes existing legal frameworks on telework in Latin America, whether adopted before or during the pandemic. The project consists of a regional report and ten national reports on Uruguay, Peru, Panama, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil. Each report covers the impact of the use of telework laws and frameworks and concludes with a chapter on regulatory recommendations to be taken by trade union organizations and labor lawyers. We hope that these publications are a useful contribution to avoid the telework practices that deepen labor precariousness.

  • Europe and Central Asia (December 2022)

The ILAW Network has undertaken a research series on telework in Europe and Central Asia. National reports examining the regulation of telework in Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine examine the impact of telework on a range of worker rights issues, including work hours and the right to disconnect, access to health and safety protections, discrimination, worker misclassification, privacy and the right to collective bargaining. We hope that these publications are a useful contribution to avoid the telework practices that deepen labor precariousness.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa

The ILAW Network is pleased to release reports on the regulation of telework in Mauritius and South Africa. The reports examine the impact of telework on a range of worker rights topics, including the regulation of atypical work, access to health and safety measures, work hours and the right to disconnect, protections against discrimination, privacy, and the right to collective bargaining.