South Asia Organizing Meeting: Expanding workers’ rights and organizing work in the region


South Asia Organizing Meeting: Expanding workers’ rights and organizing work in the region

UNI APRO South Asia organizers recently convened in Colombo for a significant meeting aimed at advancing regional organizing work and laying the groundwork for the establishment of the South Asia Organizing Centre. The gathering primarily focused on addressing the needs of workers, particularly in the informal and informalised sector, essential workers, community workers, and care sector employees. Throughout the meeting, participants delved into various subjects, such as recognizing the contributions of informal workers to the GDP, tackling the challenges faced by workers in the gig economy, and devising strategies to strengthen unions and enhance social dialogue through the South Asia Organizing Centre.

The meeting highlighted significant progress in organizing workers across the South Asia region. Notably, the Shopping Complex Employees Union in Sri Lanka grew and in India more than informal sector workers. In Nepal, efforts are underway to organize gig workers and ride-share service workers and community workers in the care sector in most of south Asian countries.

To advance regional organizing efforts, the focus of the discussion revolved around the establishment of a South Asia Organizing Centre. This center will play a crucial role in facilitating organizing campaigns, educating workers about their rights, and providing the necessary resources and support to empower them in improving their working conditions. By fostering the development of organizers and nurturing region-specific institutional knowledge, the center will ensure smoother project implementation and a continuous stream of effective organizing work with its affiliates. With a shared vision, the group agreed that the South Asia Organizing Centre will promote justice, dignity & equality by enabling workers to build power & solidarity through organizing & advancing social dialogue.

Concluding a three-day FNV review meeting was also held on South Asia Organizing.  Specific targets for each country were set: including the number of organizers, new membership growth goals, and sector-specific organizing objectives. It was recognized that the gig economy and platform workers represent crucial areas for policy work, requiring increased attention from unions.

UNI Asia & Pacific