Among Nicaragua's poorest are rural workers and "self-employed workers", which is how taxi drivers and street and market vendors, many of them women, call themselves.
There is no fixed income and there is no social security for small farmers and landless rural as well as self-employed workers in Nicaragua. While the country's 'informal sector' and exports of agricultural products are the main pillars of the economy, rural coffee plantations often fail to pay the legal minimum wage and many street vendors are driven from their stalls.
Solidar supports the efforts of two labour unions, the Association of Rural Workers (ATC) and the Confederation of Self-Employed Workers (CTCP), to improve working and living conditions.
Together with Solidar, ATC has provided legal training to rural workers. Ten advice bureau across the country provide legal advice to more than 20,000 people each year. Annualy ATC laywers accompany over 2,000 legal actions with a success rate of over eighty percent.
Moreover, in a dialogue with the Ministry of Labour and with the private sector, ATC also campaigns for increased minimum wages, compliance with labour rights and better childcare facilities in plantations. ATC trains reporters and produces radio programmes that expose breaches of labour legislation. Since 2013, Solidar has also provided funding for the training of rural workers since employers are often willing to pay better wages for higher-skilled labour.
CTCP campaigns for the introduction of social security for self-employed workers. In the capital city of Managua, CTCP has made possible the construction of sanitary facilities near street stalls and has obtained licenses for a small market.
In their daily engagements, CTCP activists have come to experience previously unknown social recognition. Because they have a positive impact on the security and running of frequently chaotic bus stations, markets and road intersections, they are valued by authorities and the wider public alike as contact persons for any problems or complaints.