Focus: Labour

Workers need to know their rights

Our activities in this field focus on the situation of workers in the informal sector as well as on irregular and precarious working conditions in the South Asian region. With our partners, we are organising conferences, workshops, seminars and networking meetings. These activities are primarily geared towards labour activists, who act as multiplicators and can pass their experience and expertise on to the workers in the factories or the activists working at the grassroots level. RLS is also working with academic institutions that conduct research on the working conditions of precarious or informally employed workers.

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The production of goods is globalised, but the workers in the Global South are still isolated. We focus on helping workers to get together and form support networks. So that their voices are heard all over.

Rajiv Kumar - Project Manager

In addition, we are supporting the creation of a network of unions and workers' rights institution in South Asia and internationally. Facilitating and supporting the intensive communication and exchange between activist from various South Asian countries with each other, as well as with unions and activists in the Global North is therefore another important area of our work.

To learn more about our work on labour issue, take a look at the projects listed below or check out our Archive.


ACTION AID | In the backdrop of increasing fiscal austerity worldwide, ever larger numbers of people will be pushed to rely on precarious work for their livelihood. The increasing inter-regional disparity within and among countries will drive people into circular migration flows in search of better livelihood.


KISLAY | During the last years India’s economy made a giant leap: Many sectors have boomed, what leads to a remarkable development and economic dynamics especially in urban areas. In many regions of the country agriculture is no longer profitable and many people are forced to leave their homes in order to sustain their livelihood.


PRAYAS | In rural India, shrinking gains from agriculture forces more and more farmers to look for alternative sources of income. Outside the harvest season, many of them migrate to urban hubs with high hopes, only to find insecure jobs under precarious conditions. Our project partners Prayas and Kislay support migrants as well as their dependents in asserting their constitutionally granted rights. 

 Completed, Labour

SOCIETY FOR LABOUR AND DEVELOPMENT | Every year, millions of people in India leave their villages in order to find work in urban areas. Often, they belong to the most deprived and vulnerable social groups. Together with the Society for Labour and Development, RLS has supported migrant workers in asserting their rights. The project was concluded in 2018.

 Completed, Labour

MONTFORD SOCIAL INSTITUTE | Most of the female domestic workers in India work under precarious conditions. Although laws and rules regulating their employment have been strengthened over the last years, domestic workers often remain isolated and at the mercy of their employers. The project was completed in 2015.