International Labour Conference 2022

Edileuza Guimarães, HNI IWC member and president of ATEMDO addresses the ILC Plenary sitting on June 8, 2022.

Thank you Chair for providing the opportunity for me to speak at this plenary.

I am Edileuza Guimarães, a home-based worker from Brazil. Today I am representing HomeNet, a network of home-based workers’ organisations from 20 countries, collectively representing over 600,000 home-based workers. I am President of ATEMDO, Association of Home-based Workers of the Solidarity Economy, a small association in Brazil, an affiliate of HomeNet International.

A 2019 ILO study stated there were over 260 million home-based workers around the world and many of them are women. While the pandemic affected everyone, it had a much deeper impact on us as home-based workers. There was no work, no income, rising debts, hunger, no social protection and inaccessible vaccines, leading to deaths of many of our comrades and family members.

Our sister organization, WIEGO, conducted an impact study of the effects of Covid-19 on workers in the informal economy, which found that home-based workers were the worst affected group of workers by the pandemic and are the slowest sector to recover. During these tough times we leaned on our organizations and built solidarity amongst ourselves. One of the organizing models that worked for us was that of the Social and Solidarity Economy. Our organizations, producer owned companies and mutual benefit organizations were the only ones which adapted to the changing supply chains and shifted their production models to provide work and income to home-based workers.

If we are serious about a human-centered and just recovery, we will have to focus on the large informal economy and their SSE organizations. While many economic models have failed us during this pandemic, SSE has proved itself to be a worker friendly model, which is resilient. It is a way for us to transition from the informal to formal economy, very much in line with the ILO Recommendation 204. It is a way for us to make a contribution to the achievement of the SDG goals and especially Goal-8 of Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goal-5 of Gender Equality.

As organized home-based workers and promoters of SSE, we urge the ILO to continue their work on SSE and create spaces for dialogue with informal economy workers’ unions and networks at national, regional and international level. We look forward to continued cooperation on SSE as a means to human-centered recovery.