RF

Project name: Job Security Improvement for Informal Sector

Rationale
In the upcoming 2016, the next 2-3 years, Southeast Asian countries will enter into the ASEAN Economic Community which will liberalize trade, investment, services, including liberalization of the labor market. The trade and investment liberalization enable cheaper goods from the neighboring countries flooded the Thai market and the goods are in competition with products made in the country. Thus, the informal workers in Thailand are likely to face unpredictable income and inaccessible to labor rights protection will be affected by various aspects of liberalization as the informal sector at a faster rate. The informal sector needs an intervention to maintain their survival in the competition, increase incomes, including access to social protection systems which will lead to a better quality of life.

According to the survey data from the National Statistical Office in 2010, it was found that the income of informal workers averagely earned 4,088 Baht per month while formal workers had an average income of 10,526 Baht per month. In spite of the fact that the informal workers work the same jobs, they must endure long working hours to earn the same income as formal workers. The informal sector is facing income instability from the most common reasons—lack of management skills and the inability to access resources to support while working at their residences. Informal workers also lack coordination with the suppliers. Currently, the government policy to promote the informal workers are non-existence. Informal workers got a job through multiple middlemen, the workman can do at home to receive extremely low wages. Despite the government has support for community-based micro-business groups under the OTOP policy to assist them with marketing, the microenterprise still lacks the opportunity to develop production skills, technology, and investment opportunities. As time goes by, some community based occupational groups were abandoned, or some groups became private businesses. The Foundation for Labor and Employment Promotion (HomeNet Thailand) has organized activities for the development of informal workers groups in Thailand for more than 15 years. FLEP ensures that informal sector groups have a secure and thriving career and income for better livelihood. Additionally, FLEP developed prototype areas for occupational security development among informal workers as a model for the stakeholders so that the government can develop policies and action plans that are beneficial to increase income for the informal sector.

Aims: Informal workers have income security and social protection which is the basic state welfare and are benefited from the ASEAN free trade.
Objectives
1) Create and develop prototype areas for fair business and employment (decent work);
2) Present a policy framework and improve government regulations that support business/ private sectors to participate in the manufacturing of goods and social business models (social enterprises)
3) Create good information and model for the professional development of informal workers and to dissemination and exchange with stakeholders at the national and international levels.

Beneficiary: Twenty groups of informal workers who are members of the informal sector network, including 5,000members in four regions, Northeast, Central, Bangkok and Southern region. The beneficiary including family members of the informal sector group is approximately 25,000 persons.
Duration
1 May 2013 to 31 April 2016
Project Strategy
1. Develop a fair business model, comprising of two parts: the first involved the home-based own account producers and self-employed groups.For self-employed, the project focus on optimizing career development through organizing self-self-employed into a group, such as a cooperative. FLEP will develop a manual for business consultancy, such as marketing, product development, business management, costing, prototype accountancy

For homeworkers who have received remuneration for their works, FLEP focuses on ensuring government compensations and skill-training. We promote workers to get a direct order from factories, who homeworkers will have more production, management, and negotiation skills.

2. FLEP will expand and cooperate with the government and private sector to strengthen informal sector skill improvement, which will enable them to be effective entrepreneurs in the future.

Main Activities
1) Draft and develop a training manual/tools to incubate entrepreneurial skills. The curriculum will have two main subjects, namely 1)Marketing and product pricing and 2) Management, accounting, and financial management;
2) Organize entrepreneurial skill training for 15 target groups;
3) Coordinate with industrial actors both the manufacturing and the service sectors and the government agencies, namely the Department of Employment, the Department of Skills Development, from the Ministry of Labor, to support the beneficiary to receive orders directly from the hirers or to access more marketing channels;
4) Support fair employment model through matching business mentors to help the social enterprise operations for fair employment by providing basic information, balance Scorecard, and providing a supporting team for business operations of the group;
5) Supportthe informal sector network to develop proposals for income security development needs and relay to the policy-makers;
6) The campaign to promote policy on informal sector job creation and income generation at the local and national levels;
7) Concludelesson learned and exchange experiences with relevant agencies nationally and internationally; and
8) Project monitoring and evaluation.

Outputs:
1) Skill development courses and tools created;
2) At least 200 leaders in the target groups learn quality entrepreneurial knowledge and skills;
3) 75% of the target group have better income and well-being;
4) At least 15 target groups on the course of being social enterprise development as the prototypes with international and national exchanges; and
5) The government developed policies and action plans that contribute to better income generation for the informal sector.