TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 17 - On September 17th, members of the Tunisia Inclusive Labor Initiative (TILI) convened a meeting of local leaders from the private sector, unions, civil society and government to discuss plans for implementing Phase 2 of the TILI program, aimed at integration of Tunisia’s informal economy. Drawing on the roadmap recommendations and achievements of Phase 1, the goal of the conference was to engage all stakeholders in the development of Phase 2 program activities with a particular emphasis on strengthening the ability of labor inspection, social experts, and civil society to support informal workers on the path to formalization.
Chema Gargouri, President of TAMSS, opened the event with a warm welcome to the 30 participants. Following Ms. Gargouri’s remarks, several TILI partners including the Director of the Labor Inspectorate and the Director of Taysir, a Tunisian micro-finance organization, presented their pilot programs aimed at supporting informal laborers through training, coaching, local dialogues, and various financial and social incentives. A case study provided insight on the past efforts of TILI and GIZ to organize recyclers in the neighborhoods around Tunis. The presentation highlighted how establishing two workers’ associations and providing the recyclers with information on health and safety, as well as materials had markedly improved their quality of life and labor conditions. Furthermore, GIZ’s past experience of opening a liaison office to support recyclers in the formalization process was presented and a thorough discussion of their lessons learned analyzed. This provided the basis of the discussion around the one-stop-window formalization office that TILI is working on implementing in partnership with the government.
The second part of the conference consisted of a series of discussion-based activities that allowed attendees to actively brainstorm ideas, suggestions, and responsibilities related to four main subjects. Topics included:
1. The creation of a “one-stop-window” formalization office under a municipality or government ministry to provide individualized guidance and resources for workers who wish to formalize their activities and access government services and benefits.
2. Revision of current Social Security and Medical Coverage regimes.
3. Working with local CSOs to certify them as master formalization trainers.
4. Specific financial incentives for workers to formalize.
Overall, the event was a great opportunity to emphasize the benefits of formalization and cooperation across multiple parties. Our partners are enthusiastic, highly willing to learn, and eager to share with one another. As GFI continues to solidify government and civil society coalitions, we look forward to seeing continued progress in forming a more inclusive legal and economic framework for a stable and thriving Tunisia.
by Twila Tschan