MERU UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE ANDTECHNOLOGYSCHOOLOF COMPUTING AND INFORMATICS DEPARTMENTOF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COMPUTER SCIENCE CIB 3403 SYSTEM PROJECT PROBLEMS FACED BY CASUAL WORKERS IN MERUTOWN: AN ONLINE INTERVENTION BS 205/4001/14 VICTOR MWENDA GITONGA A PROJECT PROPOSAL SUBMITTED TO THEDEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COMPUTER SCIENCE IN THE SCHOOL OFCOMPUTING AND INFORMATICS IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF BACHELOR OFBUSINESS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. JANUARY2018DECLARATION I, GITONGA VICTOR MWENDA, hereby declare thatthis project report is based on my original work except for citations andquotations which have been duly acknowledged. I also declare that it has notbeen previously and concurrently submitted for any other degree or award atMeru University of Science and Technology.
:…………………………….Date:………………………………. SUPERVISORI the undersigned supervisor hereby certify that this is a truereport for the project undertaken by the above-named student under mysupervision and that it has been submitted to MeruUniversity of Science and Technology with my approval. Name: ………………………………Signature: ………………………… Date …………………………….
ABSTRACTThe research findings of this research proposal will help indeveloping a platform on which casual workers in Meru town can get jobs easily.They will be able to get work for a day or two without the hassle of presentingthemselves at job sites every morning to ask to get hired. The research findingswill go a long way into strengthening the rapidly growing informal sector thatis turning to be one of the firm pillars of the Kenyan economy. Contents DECLARATION.. i ABSTRACT. ii CHAPTER ONE..
4 1.1 Background. 4 1.1.1 Historical Background. 4 1.
1.1.1 Implementation. 4 1.1.
1.2 IT Solution. 4 1.1.
2 Theoretical Background. 5 1.1.3 Conceptual Background. 6 1.
1.4 Contextual Background. 7 1.2 Problem Statement 8 1.3 Objectives.
8 1.3.1 Main objective.
8 1.3.2 Specific Objectives.
8 1.4 Hypothesis. 9 1.5 Justification.
9 1.6 Scope. 9 CHAPTER TWO.. 10 LITERATURE REVIEW… 10 2.
1 Introduction. 10 2.2 The Dual Labour Market Theory. 10 2.3 Classification of the informal economy on context basis. 11 2.4 Characteristics of the informal economy. 13 2.
5 Poverty and the Informal Economy. 13 2.6 Why people engage in the informal economy. 14 2.7 Growing informal sector in Kenya. 14 2.8 Benefits and drawbacks of the informal sector in Kenya.
14 CHAPTER ONE1.1 Background This project proposal is centred on the casual worker, particularly theday labourer who is hired and paid one day at a time, with no promise of morework in the future. Day labourers are part of the informal sector of theeconomy. 1.1.1 Historical BackgroundThe typical casuallabourer of the late 19th and early 20th century was the dock worker. Othermajor industries that relied on casual labour were construction, logging,sawmilling and agriculture.1.
1.1.1 ImplementationCurrently job seekers haveto visit the job locations to get hired. There is no guarantee though that onewill get hired on a particular day. Managers may hire and fire the labourers atwill since there is no governing interest group that represents the workers.1.
1.1.2 IT SolutionThe IT solution is a web basedsystem by the name RIZIKI. The system informs users of available jobs. Visitorsin search of jobs have to create a RIZIKI account that will enable them apply forthese posts. Since most workers in the informal sector have not been throughthe complete formal system of education, no CVs will be needed to matchrequests with jobs. Instead a referral system will be used. A worker’s refereeare their previous employers who give a review on them and increase theirchances of getting hired.
1.1.2 Theoretical Background Casual work, also referred to as contingent work is a non-permanent kindof employment relationship. These jobs have limited job security and are notconsidered to be a career or part of a career. (Contingent and Alternative Employment Arrangements, 2005). Contingent work comprisesall casual work. Manual labour is physical work done by people, most especially incontrast to that done by machines. Many jobs that comprise manual labour, suchas manual materials handling, or manual assembly of parts, may be done byunskilled or semiskilled workers.
For various reasons there is a correlationbetween manual labour and unskilled or semiskilled workers, despite the factthat nearly any work can potentially have skill and intelligence applied to it. Organisations engage casual workers as they see an opportunity to reducebenefits and retirement costs. It allows for adjustments to employment costsdepending on what kind of expertise and labour is needed and at what time it isneeded. The type of work in the informal economy is of different forms,particularly in terms of capital invested, technology used and incomegenerated. (The Informal Economy: Department of Infrastructure and Economic Cooperation, 2011)The informal sector includes activities such as those carried out by casualworkers in a warehouse and construction workers paid by day. These activitiesprovide critical economic opportunities for the lower class of the society andhas been expanding rapidly since the 1960s.
(Women and Men in the Informal Economy, 2002). The informal sector excludes all activities in the criminal economy. Theinformal economy is part of the market economy, as it produces goods andservices for sale and profit. Unpaid domestic work and care activities are notpart of the informal economy as they do not contribute to that. Most workers in the informal economy do not have access to secure work,benefits or representation.
These features differ from the formal sector wherethere are regular hours of operation and a regular location. In the formalsector, workers have access to benefits such as sick leave, insurance, andpension. According to development and transition theories, workers in the informalsector earn less income, have unstable income, and do not have access to basicprotection and services. 1.1.3 Conceptual Background The informal sector is the part of the economy that is not taxed and isnot included in the Gross National Product (GNP) of a country. Unlike theformal sector, activities carried out in the informal sector are not monitoredby the government.
(The Informal Economy: Department of Infrastructure and Economic Cooperation, 2011). The informal sectorhas several characteristics: easy entry, where anyone who wishes to join canfind work and earn from it, unstable employer-employee relationships (Meier,Gerald M., 2005), a small scope of operations, and skills gained from informaleducation. Day labourers, who are the objectof this study, find work through three common routes:Firstly, some employment agenciesspecialize in very short-term contracts for manual labour most often inconstruction, factories, offices, and manufacturing. These companies usuallyhave offices where workers can arrive and be assigned to a job on the spot, asthey are available.Secondly, a manager looking foradditional labour to fill an unexpected change in plans has to find the neededquantity of labour with the right skills. Thirdly, and less formally,workers meet at well-known locations, usually public street corners orcommercial parking lots, and wait for building contractors, landscapers, homeowners and small business owners, and other potential employers to offer work.Much of this work is in small residential construction or landscaping.
These three routes are not quitefavourable to both the employers and the workers.1.1.4 Contextual Background In Kenya, workers use the wait-for-the-employer technique to secure ajob for the day.
The locations are common job sites such as warehouses, storesdealing in heavy metal moving such as hardware shops, and construction sites.The job seekers assemble at the gate or entrance of the entity before openinghours where employers meet them and hire depending on the amount of labour theyrequire for the day and the skills that meet their needs. Once the employer is satisfied with the number of workers they havehired, the hiring process is closed until the next day. The rest have to turnback and look for work elsewhere. This is the relatively calm scenario, it canturn chaotic when these parties disagree particularly when the employerdismisses part of the job seekers at their premises. In some set ups, theemployers become arrogant and abusive to the job seekers. 1.2 ProblemStatement Ideally, a casual worker wishing to gethired for a day should easily find suitable work from any employer.
However, asit is, finding work is a cumbersome task as it involves visiting the physical locationsof work to ask to get hired and get paid at the end of the day. Getting hiredlargely depends on the amount of labour required by an employer on thatparticular day. A successful job hunt results in securing a day’s wage for theworker. While this may seem as the end of thestruggle that is rarely the case, as work is offered for not more than twentyfour hours at a time, meaning one has to start the process all over.Introducing an online system to help people find casual jobs would go a longway in alleviating these problems. The system shall provide a list of availablejobs and allow interested parties to apply for quick placement to those jobs.It shall also help a worker to secure a job for the following day.
1.3 Objectives1.3.1 Mainobjective To enable casual labourers get jobs easily and more efficiently. 1.3.2 SpecificObjectives1. Todevelop an online platform on which employers can post jobs so that peoplewishing to work on them can apply.
2. Tofacilitate the reduction of conflicts that arise betweenemployers and job seekers when the available job slots are fewer than the people that need work.3.
Toassist a managerlooking for additional labour to fill an unexpected change in plans, find theneeded quantity of labour with the right skills.4. To raise assurance levelof availability of more work for casual labourers in the future.1.4 Hypothesis1. The platform will help casualjob seekers get jobs after applying requests on them.
2. The conflicts that arisebetween employers and job seekers when there are just a few job slots shall bereduced.3. Managers will find the neededquantity of labour when there is need for additional labour to fill unexpectedchange in plans.4. The assurance level ofavailability of future work for casual labourers will be raised.1.5 Justification The system is worthwhile as there are no existing web systems that providejob recruitment opportunities for casual job seekers in Meru town.
It is an improvementof the current manual method of recruiting people to work on a one-day basis. Thefrustrations that come with waiting to be hired, only to discover that all positionshave been occupied will be reduced. This can be attributed to the system’s abilityto bring out the distinction between the positions that have been matched with receivedapplications from those that are yet to be filled with required workers.1.6 Scope1.
It collects details ofthe applicant, process and store them in a database.2. The system can be usedwithin Meru town to make easier the hiring process of day labourers.
3. The system can beaccessed by all devices with internet access such as laptops, desktops, and tablets. CHAPTER TWOLITERATURE REVIEW2.1 Introduction This section reviews literature relating to the informal sector andcasual jobs. Throughout this section, the terms informal sector and informaleconomy are used to refer to one constant entity. The term black economy can beused to refer to the informal economy. (Dilnot A. &.
, 1981). The “informalsector” concept first came about in an International Labour Organisation studyof economic markets in Ghana (Hart, 1973).This economy is present in many developing countries such as Kenya.
It involvesboth the typical formal sector and an unsanctioned economy whereby economictransactions happen outside customary channels with excellent socio-economicbenefits.2.2 The Dual Labour Market Theory According to The Dual Labour Market Theory (Doeringer, 1971)the labour market is divided into four classes; primary, secondary, informaland illegal (as illustrated in Diagram 1). The primary sector are regulated,salaried jobs such as white-collar jobs. Secondary sector comprises of jobswith lower security than primary jobs and have low degrees of regulation, forinstance, lower wage jobs in the service sector. The Dual Labour Market Theory stressesthat the informal sector is made of people who have no access to primary or secondary work.These are people who operate their own small businesses in a cash-only orunregulated arrangement or people who work for employers but off-the-records.The fourth class is illegal work.
All criminal activities that generate revenuefall under this category. Diagram 1Labour Market Categories Primary Sector Secondary Sector Informal Sector Illegal Sector · High wage · High Security · Well regulated · Low wage · Low security · Poorly regulated · Self-employment · Casual labour · Unregulated · Criminal · Unregulated Source: Crossand Johnson, 2000: 1022.3Classification of the informal economy on context basis The International Labour Organisation depictsinformal work to involve a person working for someone else or a person beingself-employed where within these two categories there are two arrangements. Asshown in Diagram 2.Diagram 2Structure ofInformal Work Primary work for company Additional work for current employer Person works for someone else · Works off-the-records · Paid in cash and not taxed · Works extra hours on weekends or evenings (paid in cash and not taxed) Person operates own small business Does irregular odd jobs or services Person self-employed · Cash-only exchanges · On-going, regular · Business is seen as primary income · Seasonal work · Not as formalized as a “small business” Source:Adapted from work done by theInternational Labour Organisation, 2002: 12-13.
People who work for someone else may be doing thisas their primary job or as additional work in addition to their main work, for their primary employer. In one occasionthe person is employed by a small, medium, or large scale company.For example, a hotel cleaning contractor that hires people off-the-records andpays them in cash. In another scenario this person is employed by their current employer to work during theweekends or in the evenings. They might even take work home to add to their income. Again, this arrangementis off-the-records.
Other people are self-employed. Under thisarrangement people may operate their ownbusinesses either as a primarysource of income or as a way to supplement their income fromtheir primary employment. Anindividual may operate a lawn care business as his primary source of income orrun a household repair business as a means of bringing in additional incomewhile still under full time employment. 2.
4 Characteristics of the informal economy The following are key characteristics that are widely accepted byscholars as describing the informal economy.2.4.
1Legal versus Illegal Economic activities are distinguished by the manner in which goods andservices are produced or exchanged. Food and clothing are legal commodities butmay originate from both legally regulated and unregulated productionarrangements (Raijman, 2002). In a review by The Aspen Institute in2002, an example of a hot dog vendor is mentioned. Selling hot dogs on thestreets is not illegal, however, if the vendor is not properly licensed, theymay be evading sales tax or health laws.
The authors have clearly distinguishedthis involvement in the informal economy from criminal activity, in which theact is illegal for instance peddling drugs on the streets.2.4.
2Cash deals Parties exchange cash rather than cheques to dodge creating a record oftheir activities (McCrohan et al., 2001). These arrangementsare termed as “off-the-records” or “under-the-table”.2.4.3Conditions of labour The informal economy thrives outside labour laws, thus employees withinthis economy do not have access to protection such as that given to formalemployees.
There is no guarantee that safety laws are being adhered to. Theplaces of work may be environmentally harmful and the tools unsafe.2.5 Poverty and the InformalEconomy According to the International Labour Office, “There is no simplerelationship between working informally and being poor, working formally andescaping poverty. But it is certainly true that a much higher percentage ofpeople working in the informal relative to the formal economy are poor, andmore true that a large share of women working in the informal economy are poor”(2002, p.
3).2.6 Why people engage in theinformal economy For some people it is the only way or the best option. Others areinvolved in informal work for personal fulfillment or as a means to supplementprimary income. People may join the informal sector as casual labourers asdictated by their low level of education. Most jobs in the formal sector demanda relatively high level of education for the job holders. 2.7 Growing informal sector inKenya The growing informal sector is a driver of Kenya’s job market as itemploys a significant amount of people who support the majority of thehouseholds in the country.
According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics for2015, the economy generated a total of 841.6 thousand jobs of which 128.0thousand jobs were in the modern sector while 713.6 thousand jobs were in theinformal sector, during the period under review.2.8 Benefits and drawbacks of theinformal sector in Kenya The benefits of hiring casual staff are enjoyed by both the employer andthe employee.
Labourers. The employer may call on casual staffin times of peak demand or scarcity of permanent staff. These casuals can comein and complete the pending tasks, with no obligation to keep them for slowerperiods. The immediate needs of the business can be successfully taken care ofby tapping into a resource of casual workers.
Casual employment does not guarantee longevity, though it providesbenefits to the employee. Casual work allows individuals to fit work aroundtheir lifestyles. This is particularly beneficial for students or older people,who may have other commitments and require a work-life balance. 2.9Summary The literature reviewed in the abovesection is in line with the