The informal economy is in many ways the Cinderella subject of the ‘dignity at work’ debate: the badly dressed poor relation who toils away cleaning up other people’s mess with no status, and who rarely sees the light of day. In the absence of a Prince Charming to transform their prospects, what chance do those working in the informal economy have of enjoying ‘dignified’ work? As the 2002 International Labour Conference concluded (using the term of ‘decent’ in place of ‘dignified’):

‘Contrary to earlier predictions, the informal economy has been growing rapidly in almost every corner of the globe, including industrialized countries – it can no longer be considered a temporary or residual phenomenon But work in the informal economy cannot be termed “decent” compared to recognized, protected, secure, formal employment’ (International Labour Conference, 90th Session, 2002).