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.


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 supports migrant workers in asserting their rights.


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. 


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. With the Montford Social Institute, RLS encouraged them to take up their struggle together.



Workers Global North share many of their problems with their colleagues in the Global South. There is, however, hardly any exchange between the workers, who are divided through their different languages and geographical distance, but united in their struggle. Together with our partner Transnationals Information Exchange, we  facilitated exchange with textile workers from South Asia and retail workers in Germany.


Workers are often divided by their different modes of employment. However, the underlying causes for the problems they are facing are largely the same. A project with the Centre for Workers’ Management focused on the commonalities of workers from different backgrounds and facilitated exchange and mutual support.