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Construction and maintenance of infrastructure, roads in particular, can be a valuable source of employment and income opportunities for the working poor through income transfer (in cash or in kind) and enhanced employability of workers after construction finishes. The benefits for the community are also great and include income multipliers generated by spending of construction wages, and the creation of useful economic infrastructure that can enhance market integration and reduce travel costs and time for households.


The lack of regulatory framework and implementation of labor standards that protect the rights of individuals working in the construction industry can mean that infrastructure designed to bring benefits to workers result instead in social costs for them, their families and the community they belong to.

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In this context, the Thematic Group focuses on aspects related to the basic quality of work, particularly through the inclusion and implementation of labor standards.    This applies throughout the life cycle of infrastructure assets from the construction process to maintenance, and through implementation from procurement to project execution, including:


Labor based policies in the transport and construction sector that do not discriminate against the physically disabled, older people and women


Social clauses that recognize labor standards and provide a framework for better treatment of workers by improving workers’ health and safety and ensuring fair wages and working conditions


Employer good practice with regard to HIV/AIDS issues addressed in construction projects

      Key Documents

From Workfare to Fair Work: The Contribution of Public Works and other Labor-based Infrastructure Programmes to Poverty Alleviation (PDF, 244KB) Stephen Devereux, Recovery and Reconstruction Department.  International Labor Office, Geneva.  November 2002.


The Issue of Fatigue and Working Time in the Road Transport Sector (PDF, 142KB)
Jon K Beaulieu, Social Activities Program, International Labor Office, 2005


Violence and Stress at Work in the Transport Sector (PDF, 233KB)
Bert Essenberg, Social Activities Program, International Labor Office, 2003


For more resources, go to employment issues in Road TransportMaritime TransportAir Transport, and Railways.


Labor Issues in Infrastructure Reform: A Toolkit
World Bank and PPIAF, Washington, D.C., 2004.
This toolkit provides guidance to practitioners involved in the design, implementation, and monitoring of labor programs in the context of private participation in infrastructure (PPI) arrangements. It explores issues such as staff audits, benchmarking, work force analysis, sequencing, restructuring options, stakeholder engagement, severance payments, and approaches to monitoring and evaluating labor programs. Also included are full-text
 case studies from the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, India, and Bolivia, and references to other experiences from around the world. It also offers useful practical tools such as project plans, TORs, checklists, sample surveys, evaluation forms, reference guides, and a glossary of useful terms. While the toolkit focuses on PPI, it is equally instructive to labor restructuring of state-owned enterprises without private participation.

      Useful Links

The ILO Transport Sector Webpage
This link gives access to the International Labor Organization sectoral page on transport (including civil aviation; railways; road transport). It provides access to a number of resources, links, related materials and upcoming conferences. It covers topics such as employment and working conditions; labor standards and social dialogue; and social protection, health, and safety (including HIV/AIDS).


The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF)
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) represents transport workers around the world and promotes their interests through global campaigning and solidarity. The site provides access to Transport International Magazine, news and materials related to road and urban transport, railways, tourism, fisheries, women and other.


The ILO Road Transport Convention C153, Hours of Work and Rest Periods
The ILO convention C153 applies to commercial vehicle operators engaged professionally in the road transport of goods or passengers.  It stipulates the maximum driving time, the employers’ responsibility to implement this rule, and the governments’ responsibility for enforcement (1979).


The ILO ‘Code of Practice’ on AIDS (PDF, 127KB)
The ILO Code recognizes HIV/AIDS as a workplace issue and goes beyond awareness raising to include non-discrimination, confidentiality, care and support.  It was developed in response to many requests for guidance, through a widespread process of consultation with government, employer and worker constituents in all regions. It help secure decent work and social protection in the face of the epidemic and a framework for workplace action.


Module 8 - HIV/AIDS and the Informal Economy (PDF, 162KB)
Training manual in support of the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS: ILO/AIDS, ILO, Geneva, 2003.The module reviews how HIV/AIDS affect the informal economy and the issues to consider in planning a response. It highlights how the ILO Code of Practice is relevant for the informal economy and suggesting ways for the ‘formal’ sector to reach out to informal workers and micro enterprises. It is designed for policy-makers and planners who wish to gain knowledge and understanding of how the epidemic affects work and workers in the informal economy.

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