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Labour Law and the Informal Economy in Thailand, Mongolia and Cambodia

Informal Economy Mongolia, Thailand, Cambodia

The largest portion of the economically active populations of Thailand, Cambodia, and Mongolia work in the informal economy. They operate outside of the formal reach of labour and other laws; or, if they are within the reach of the law, they are not covered in practice because the law is not applied or enforced. They work under vastly different conditions. Some work on their own account, others under the supervision and control of a micro- or small-enterprise operator; still others work autonomously but under the economic domination of a single buying client. Their working conditions are sometimes intolerable, often inefficient, but rarely on par with the minority of workers who are clearly covered by labour laws in the formal economy.

These studies look at the application and applicability of national labour laws to different groups of workers in the informal economies of these countries with a view to finding ways of extending labour laws' rights to all workers, wherever they work.

LiD played a coordination role in this collaboration effort.  The research activity and publication was foreseen under the Bangkok-based Informal Economy, Poverty and Employment Project. The Project contracted national consultants in each of the 3 countries - Mongolia, Thailand and Cambodia - to research and prepared countries papers. LiD was contracted to serve the international coordination role, and to produce a comparative/overview paper.

In order to establish a common ground for the national papers, a workshop was held for all the consultants involved in December 2004.  The ultimate goal of the workshop was the agreeing of a common framework and outline for the papers.  National research was undertaking in the months following the workshop, and first drafts of the papers prepared and commented on.  The national papers were vetted in national workshops aimed at promoting extension of labour standards and aspects of decent work for informal economy workers.

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