ZCIEA loses two of their members in a tragic accident

The late Benjamin Moyo
The late Beauty MugijimaThe Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA) 1st Deputy President, Mrs Beauty Mugijima and National Information and Publicity Officer Mr Benjamin Muvhami Moyo passed away on the 4th June when their vehicle was involved in a head on collision with a haulage truck along Harare – Masvingo road in Zimbabwe. The accident occurred when a haulage truck swerved from its lane and rammed into their vehicle while trying to avoid hitting a stationery tractor.

Beauty and Ben were returning from Masvingo where they had attended a Zimbabwe National Association of Housing Cooperatives (ZINACO) meeting where they were both Board members.

The two were part of the architects and instrumental founding members in the formation of ZCIEA. Mrs Mugijima was at the helm of ZCIEA at its inception in 2002. They have been pillars of ZCIEA from the inception until the time of their death. Their efforts made ZCIEA to be known internationally and in higher offices because they knocked on every office which they felt needed to hear their voice. They helped in the formation of housing cooperatives for the informal sector associations` country wide and lobbied councils for low cost houses for the poor majority.

ZCIEA has truly lost a hero and heroine. Beauty Mugijima was currently the treasurer at StreetNet. StreetNet is saddened by this sudden tragedy and offers their deep condolences to ZCIEA and to the families of our comrades Beauty and Ben.

Benjamin Moyo (far right) with Beauty Mugijima at the ZCIEA offices

Link for News Article: Accident robs ZCIEA of its two members

Street Vendors win appeal over revoked street licenses in São Paulo – Brazil

3 July 2012

Last Wednesday, June 27, the special body of the São Paulo Justice Court, comprising of 25 judges, overturned the injunction of the president of the court, Judge Ivan Sartori, who had revoked all the street vending licenses of São Paulo city, arguing that the street vendors represent a threat to the public order.

The event was the conclusion of a history that starts long way back. The current mayor of São Paulo, since the beginning of his mandate has repealed all the 2200 licenses that existed in the municipality (in the previous administration the number went from 15000 to 2200). With the elections approaching, he decided in the beginning of May to repeal all the licenses remaining. The Gaspar Garcia Human Rights Centre with the public defender Bruno Miragaia filed a public civil action against the decision. The civil action was accepted by the court, and then the president of the court interfered with an injunction forbidding the vendors to return to work.

The Gaspar Garcia and the public defender appealed the decision last Wednesday, the appeal was judged and the decision was favourable. According to the public defender Bruno Miragaia, the action taken by the judges restores the rule of law in the city.

The trial has mobilised hundreds of vendors – many of them disabled – from all regions of São Paulo, them stood vigil in front of the Court, in the centre of the city. According to those present, described being overwhelmed when the decision was announced. Over thousand vendors celebrated by singing the national anthem, crying, speaking words about the people power and hugging each other.

The lawyer from Gapar Garcia Centre, Juliana Avanci said that the decision shows that the judiciary power understood that is necessary to interfere in policies from the executive power that threaten the rights of the workers and dwellers of the city

STREETNET addresses the adversities faced by informal workers and their rights at International Labour Conference

11 June 2012

StreetNet, an international federation of 48 organisations of street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Eastern Europe, representing 501 178 paid-up members, wishes to acknowledge work done by the ILO to promote policies for decent work, including in relation to workers in the informal economy, since the adoption of the Conclusions on Decent Work and the Informal Economy at the 90th session of the International Labour Conference in 2002.

Souley ZeinabouSouley Zeinabou, StreetNet international Council member from FENASEIN in Niger addressed the plenary sitting of 101st session of ILO’s International Labour Conference. Various issues were highlighted.

Accordingly, StreetNet has participated in the Committee on Migrant Workers in the Global Economy in the 92nd session of the Conference in 2004, the Committee on the Employment Relationship in the 95th session in 2006, the Committee on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work in the 99th session in 2010, and the Committee on Social Protection Floors for Social Justice and a Fair Globalisation in this 101st session of the Conference in 2012. At national level, StreetNet encourages its affiliate organisations of street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers to participate in the Decent Work Country programmes to ensure a substantial element of work in relation to workers in the informal economy.

StreetNet’s approach is underlined by the promotion of a process of formalisation from informal to formal work defined by workers from different sectors of the informal economy, as follows:

  • Recognition in law of workers in the informal economy;
  • Integration of indirect taxes and other revenues already paid by informal workers into official tax systems (in accordance with the principle of progressive taxation);
  • Extension of social security to all;
  • Statutory negotiating forums, including at local government level;
  • Participatory budgeting, at both national and local government level;
  • Formalisation into genuine worker-controlled cooperatives;
  • Transformation of the informal economy into social solidarity economy.

StreetNet would like to congratulate the Director-General on the rapid response of the ILO to the call of the 2008 ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation and the Global Jobs Pact of 2009 by immediately working on a Recommendation on Social Protection Floors which we anticipate being adopted at this 101st session of the International Labour Conference. We believe that this will go a long way to "preventing or alleviating poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion" as experienced on a daily basis by workers in the informal economy worldwide.

StreetNet wishes to draw to the attention of Members of this organisation to the role that local governments would need to embrace in implementation of programmes for effective extension of decent work and social protection to workers in the informal economy. We urge governments to bring their local government authorities into their Decent Work Country Programmes and Social Protection Floors programmes as a matter of urgency, and to:

  • encourage them to adopt Local Economic Development strategies promoting retention of work and existing livelihoods, and promoting innovative local social protection schemes;
  • sensitise them about the negative long and medium-term consequences of any short-term measure which has the effect (albeit unintentional) of destroying livelihoods, especially of the most vulnerable workers, while attempting to achieve social inclusion;
  • urge them to engage in extensive and effective social dialogue with objective of:
  • being fully accountable to their civil society constituents;
  • improving levels of transparency about development decisions involving public assets;
  • engaging the participation of the most vulnerable workers in the solutions at local and government level

Such social dialogue should complement other levels of collective bargaining and social dialogue (i.e. bipartite, tripartite, multi-partite, national and international) with all social partners, including organized informal economy workers. StreetNet’s participation in this discussion is in response to the strong message of our members who have been excluded for so long from inclusive policies and processes: "Nothing for us without us!"

For more information contact:
Pat Horn
International Coordinator
StreetNet International
Tel.031 307 4038
Cel.076 706 5282
e-mail: coordinator@streetnet.org.za

StreetNet International Council gives full support to May 31st protest of Sao Paolo street vendors

26 May 2012, Bogota

The StreetNet International Council, meeting in Bogota, on May 26th 2012, has been informed that the Municipal Authorities in Sao Paulo Brazil have taken the drastic decision to prohibit street vending.

On Saturday, May 19, Mayor Gilberto Kassab revoked a municipal decree of 1997 that authorized street vending in Sao Paolo. Over 1000 existing licenses issued to vendors have been revoked, and vendors told to vacate the pavements. In October last year, the Municipality sent police to destroy street vendors` stalls in the central district of Sao Paolo and there have been many other recent incidents of police violence and abuse.

There are over 100,000 street vendors in Sao Paolo although the great majority are currently working without licenses.

Street vendors` organisations from all over the city are planning a mass protest on May 31st, together with other workers` organisations, human rights organisations and civil society organisations.  In addition, the Public Attorney and the StreetNet partner in Brazil, the Gaspar Garcia Centre for Human Rights will file a legal suit against this decree.

StreetNet International sends its full solidarity and support to the street vendors` organisations of Sao Paolo and will work together with its partners in Brazil and with WIEGO in order to send a letter of protest to the Brazilian authorities, and other appropriate bodies.

Oscar Roberto Silva President SIVARA
Argentina
Signature
Beauty Mugijima Treasurer ZCIEA
Zimbabwe
 
Souley Zeinabou Council Member FENASEIN
Niger
 
Mamadou Fall Council Member SUDEMS
Senegal
 
Madeleine Tounkara Council Member CNTG
Guinee
 
Fundile Jalile Council Member ECSVA
South Africa
 
Fandy Clarisse Gnahoui Council Member USYNVEPID
Benin
 
Neupane Narayan Prasad Council Member NEST
Nepal
 
Fatoumata Bintou Yafa Council Member CNTS
Senegal
 
Patricia Horn International Coordinator STREETNET INTERNATIONAL  
Ester Nabawa Affiliate MUFIS Malawi  
 Matseliso Jacintha Lerotholi Affiliate Khatang Thema
Lesotho
 
Zada Foumakoye  Affiliate UGSEIN
Niger
 
Jose Manuel Ubisse Affiliate ASSOTSI
Mozambique
 
Natalia Cera Brea Affiliate UPTA
Spain
 
Solange Hazoume Affiliate SYNAVAMAB
Benin
 
Salvador Lara Diaz   FOTSSIEH
Honduras
 
Pedro Luis Ramirez Barbosa Affiliate UGTI Colombia  

Blowing the whistle

StreetNet International held a campaigns meeting in cooperation with the United Workers Centre (CUT) Colombia and the General Union of Informal Workers (UGTI) in Bogota, Colombia on 21st May.  The meeting agreed to give their full support for the letter sent to FIFA, written by the CUT-Brazil, StreetNet and the Gaspar Garcia Centre for Human Rights, calling on FIFA to respect the rights of street vendors. They also agreed that each organisation would send a copy of the letter to FIFA to their respective National Federations of Football and to call for a meeting to put forward their concerns.  During the meeting, the participants looked at the Solidar website, and were invited to sign the petition against FIFA.  They also blew the whistle at Sepp Blatter! We think that the whistling was so loud it must have been heard in Zurich!

There were 17 organisations present at the meeting, from 13 countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.   

The demands to FIFA are:

  • That FIFA encourages the municipal authorities to use existing or establish new bargaining forums to dialogue with the representative organisations of all the informal workers in the host cities;
  • That within the Fan Miles around the Stadiums and in the Fan Parks, 50% of the stands are reserved for local informal traders who sell typical handicrafts, food and drink from the region.
  • That appropriate for informal trade in each municipality are developed in a consultative manner;

Joburg refuses moratorium on confiscation of Street Traders` stock

In a meeting held last week Friday, Senior Johannesburg Metro Police Officer, who reluctantly gave his name as Isaac Peter Dlepho refused to have a moratorium on confiscation of street traders possessions as requested by SANTRA.

Xolani Nxumalo, head of the informal trading management unit then questioned the presence of a legal team and other persons called in by SANTRA to monitor proceedings and provide technical support . After a heated exchange, SANTRA representatives as well as the legal team consisting of Mical Johnson and Mohummed Khan of EVERSHEDS ATTONEYS and Tebogo Sewapa of THE LAW REVIEW PROJECT left the meeting,

SANTRA`S RESPONSE:

"SANTRA will not be dictated to by The City of Johannesburg as to who should or should not be part of its delegation in dealing with a critical matter of this nature, particularly in the light of widespread allegations of brutality, abuse, plundering and looting by JMPD members.

Panic has set in: Municipal officials, blatantly guilty of non delivery are desperately moving into "crisis management mode" and do not wish their conduct to be monitored by "outsiders".

We ask where is Johannesburg street trader management in place? There answer is that they have none.

Where is the millions of Rand worth of confiscated non- perishables taken from the poor in the guise of "law enforcement over the past 10 years? There was no response to that question.

It will not be possible for these officials to manipulate SANTRA into a controlled negotiation process with them choosing who should be represented on our side of the table.

We made the request for a moratorium. We choose who speaks on our behalf. At the present time we will continue our public debate, exposing all aspects of Johannesburg`s failed informal trading policy as well as non delivery by a team of costly municipal officials who are delivering very little, other than plundering and looting the possessions of the poor.

The Johannesburg informal trading fiasco could be as widespread as the billing crisis, the only difference is that poor people and not resourced ratepayers are affected. The "can of worms" is slowly opening. Traders are scared to talk for fear of reprisals. WE ARE NOT."

For more information, please call Edmund Elias on 072 157 2481/072 570 2200

International Workers Day and the Plight of Informal Workers

Vendors at traffic lights and on the streets working hard to earn their daily living
Above: Vendors at traffic lights and on the streets working hard to earn their daily living

International Workers’ Day, the First of May, is a celebration of the Global Workers’ Movement. For other work sectors, it is a day for the struggle for rights which have yet to be obtained eg street vendors or self-employed workers live and work under precarious conditions.

In Nicaragua, while thousands of workers in state and private industry celebrate the first of May as a holiday, there are workers who work on this day because they view the celebrations as an opportunity to sell a wide variety of products.

These workers are called street vendors, a term which signifies workers who move from one place to another without necessarily working at a fixed place. The majority of the trade of street vendors is carried out by a single person. Some sell from covered stalls, others sell in the open air, some seated next to a basket or blanket where they display their merchandise. Thousands of poor people cannot afford the luxury of buying goods in shops, and acquire goods at the low prices offered by street vendors. 

EVERY WORKING DAY IS A DAY OF STRUGGLE FOR INFORMAL WORKERS

Pictured above left is a Hawker and on the right is Street Vendor who form part of the informal sector
Pictured above left is a Hawker and on the right is Street Vendor who form part of the informal sector

To work as street vendors is the only alternative for thousands of people in the world to whom neither the State nor private enterprise offers work opportunities, a result of neoliberal policies imposed on countries like Nicaragua by the international financiers such as the IMF and the World Bank.

The life of a street vendor is a relentless struggle. The majority have to battle on the streets even on rest days to survive. For these workers there is not much to celebrate on the first of May.

The greatest attainment of this heroic deed in Chicago, United States, was the eight hour working day. Street traders in general exceed 10 hours, subjected to the inclemency of the weather.

The informal worker is invisible to some, but plays and important role as a distribution channel, even for large companies.

During this time when self-employed citizens are surpassing those employed in the traditional sector, they are also demanding respect for their human and working rights.

If street vendors are asked “what do you require to overcome your problems?”, the answers received would be the following:

  • Access to credit
  • Access to education for their children
  • Access to health care
  • Access to social security
  • Permission to work without persecution from the authorities and not to be removed from public areas where they have found the only alternative honourable occupation in which they can earn a living.

These, amongst others, are the demands of self-employed workers in Nicaragua and in the world. Self-employed workers are the majority in the cities and in the rural areas, they produce a major portion of wealth and employment. Only by acting in a united and organised form in a common front can they achieve recognition of their human and labour rights, and achieve decent lives and work. Only then will they fully celebrate the first of May.

For more information:

Contact
Monica Garzaro Scott, StreetNet Organiser
Email: garzaroscott@gmail.com

Sharon Pillay, Publicity and Media officer
Email: sharonpillay4@yahoo.com

"Protest to be held as Informal traders are forced to contribute a higher percentage of their earnings than formal workers, who earn more" –  FUTRAND

On Tuesday, April 24, it was announced in the press that all informal traders including women over the age of 55, and men over 60, would receive an old-age pension, whether or not they had contributed to Social Security. Without doubt, this is very good news, as it is another right acquired because citizens work and pay taxes due to all the efforts made by our organisation to obtain this recognition.

On the other hand, via a Decree in the National Assembly, article 6 of the Social Security Act has been modified to require that Informal Traders contribute 13% of their declared earnings to the Department of Social Security. We reject this, as the contribution percentage is too high as formal employees contributions consist of  4% from the employee, plus 7% from the employer, which is a total of 11%. We do not understand why they are asking informal traders who earn less to pay much more than the formal employees.We are publicising this new form of discrimination on behalf of this group of workers who so greatly need solidarity and the respect of the authorities, civil society and national and international institutions to obtain better working and retirement conditions.

WE WILL MARCH ON THE 1ST OF MAY TO PROTEST THE MOCKERY AND DISRESPECT TO WHICH WE ARE SUBJECTED BY GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES

For more information:

Contact
Monica Garzaro Scott, StreetNet Organiser
Email: garzaroscott@gmail.com

Sharon Pillay, Publicity and Media officer
Email: sharonpillay4@yahoo.com

"Care about the poor not just the profits" – Informal traders from Brazil urge FIFA

On the occasion of International Workers’ Day, CUT-Brazil, StreetNet International and the Gaspar Garcia Centre for Human Rights calls on FIFA to keep its promise to identify "constructive" approaches to urban trading during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Writing on the occasion of 1st May, StreetNet International, CUT –Brazil and the Gaspar Garcia Centre for Human Rights urge FIFA to keep its promise to identify "constructive" approaches to urban trading during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"Informal traders are workers trying to make an honest living for their families.  FIFA needs to seriously rethink its policy concerning the setting up of exclusion zones around the Stadiums and fan parks, because of its negative impact on some of the most vulnerable of the urban poor," stated  Manoel Messias Melo, Secretary for Work Relations at the CUT National Office.

"FIFA has the power to really change the face of the World Cup in Brazil,’ said Nora Wintour, from StreetNet International. "Will football fans feel good about walking through to the stadium in the knowledge that FIFA was responsible for destroying the livelihoods of local traders? No, they won’t. We’ve been asked to come up with feasible proposals. We’ve put them in writing today," she explained.

"Let FIFA show that this is not just another public relations exercise.  StreetNet carried out an extensive consultation and has identified over 80 informal traders’ organisations in the 12 host cities.  We have some practical proposals about how municipalities can work with the informal traders’ organisations now, during the World Cup and for the longer term. The CUT and the Gaspar Garcia Centre have worked with the vendors’ organisations to develop these demands,’ Nora Wintour added.

Maria from MUCA , leader of a street vendors’ organisation affiliated to the CUT in Rio explained: "We’ve heard what happened to the traders in South Africa.  They told us to organise and demand our right to work during the World Cup. We feel our cause is just. FIFA and all the different levels of government in Brazil should show they care about the poor, not just the profits."

The organisations recommend that:

  • FIFA encourages the municipal authorities to use existing or establish new bargaining forums to dialogue with the representative organisations of all the informal vendors in the different host cities
  • Within the Fan Miles around the Stadiums and in the Fan Parks, 50% of the stands are reserved for local informal traders who sell typical food and drink from the region.  These stands should be allocated to the informal traders through a participatory process as established by the bargaining forums and at affordable prices, giving priority to cooperative or other social economy initiatives of traders who may otherwise lose their trading spaces, whether or not they possess valid licenses
  • Appropriate alternatives for informal trade in each municipality are developed in a consultative manner; these trading sites should be 50% funded by FIFA and be designed as long-term solutions to be in place both during and after the World Cup for ordinary games or events around these stadiums and Fan Miles and Fan Parks, so that there is a social legacy of the World Cup for the informal traders as well

To read the letter to FIFA, please click here…

For more information contact:

Streetnet International
Nora Wintour, Campaigns Coordinator: norawintour@live.co.uk
Maira Vanucchi, StreetNet Consultant Brazil: mairavanuchhi@gmail.com
Sharon Pillay, Media and Publicity Officer: sharonpillay4@yahoo.com

Central Unica dos Trabalhadores
Crystiane Peres CUT National Office: crystiane@cut.org.br

Gaspar Garcia Centre for Human Rights
Luciana Itikawa: luciana.itikawa@gmail.com