Labour Education and Research Network (LEARN) is a NGO headquartered in Mumbai dedicated to mobilising female informal sector workers in the urban slums of Maharashtra since 2008. Our membership includes home based workers, domestic workers, street vendors, micro factory workers, garment workers and ragpickers in three districts of Maharashtra state, namely, Mumbai, Nashik and Solapur. The objectives of LEARN are to assist in building collectivisation of workers in informal employment, to conduct research and to develop collective grassroots responses to issues that affect the informal sector workers. LEARN is registered under the Society’s Act 1860 (registration no: F 22990), Mumbai Public Trust Act, 1950 & Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976.
The objectives of LEARN are to assist in building collectivisation of workers in informal employment and also to conduct research so as to increase our understanding of their issues and develop collective grassroots responses to them. With these broad objectives, it has been successful in bringing together a dispersed workforce, register them as members of a trade union; thereby providing them the identity of a worker. LEARN has also been able to generate literature on the urban informal economy in India based on the findings and learnings from the work of the trade union. In this sense, the two processes are interlinked—field findings inform research, which in turn help in developing strategies for field mobilisation.