Ukrainian small entrepreneurs ask to stop violence and to let them work to feed their families!

28 December 2016

Pictured is Mrs. Valentyna Korobka, FTUEU Chairwoman

Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (FTUEU), a StreetNet affiliate from Ukraine, reports about continuous violence and harm towards its members and other market/street vendors in Ukraine, namely in Kyiv city - the Ukrainian capital.

Kyiv Local Administration talks about so called “beautification of the city” development program and started to dismantle trading booths and local markets from their locations, which is aimed to pave the way for the establishment of a new entertainment center.

Bizarrely, the small business entrepreneurs and market traders have never been informed in advance neither about the plan to destroy their working places, nor about any relocation plan perspective.

Consequently, an immense conflict started to take place between the Kyiv City Council and the large and small businesses concerning the placing of trade stalls. It has to be noted that the local authorities together with employees of the National Police of Ukraine often, in contrary to the applicable law, support the large businesses only. This leads to cases of theft or destruction of property of small entrepreneurs, injury and even death of people.

Pictured are destroyed trading places of small markets in Kyiv city

On December 17, while attempting to demolish the stalls at the market near the metro station "Kyiv Polytechnic Institute", local clashes erupted with police which resulted in an injury of at least one trader.

On December 20, a number of small entrepreneurs were injured by police officers as a result of local clashes during a peaceful gathering in front of the Kyiv City Council.

On December 22, as a result of collisions of small entrepreneurs and volunteer battalions with police, while trying to pull down trade stalls at the market near the metro station "Kyiv Polytechnic Institute", one woman was hospitalized and two police officers got injured.

Later, on December 25, 2016 during the fire at Lisovy second-hand market, one woman died and 11 people were injured. This case and a number of other aggressive actions towards traders which took place at other Kyiv markets of Darnytsia and Kharkivsky districts, is totally in violation of related Ukrainian Laws and all ILO Conventions and Recommendations. According to some witnesses, it was an arson fire.

Pictured are destroyed trading places of small markets in Kyiv city

The above was just some examples of recent violent cases involved “traders” issue in Kiev city.

“Though the small business entrepreneurs have to suffer so much in order to survive and to fight so hard for keeping their livelihoods. They don’t violate the laws or regulations of the country, and though they are those people who created jobs living for themselves, it seems that the authorities have set a plan for closing all routs for their survival and for depriving them from finding any means for living along with their families”, - says Valentyna Korobka.

FTUEU, with support of its umbrella organization - Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine- held the urgent Press-Conference to draw attention of the City Local Administration, General Prosecutor’s Office and Members of Parliament to stop violence towards small entrepreneurs and traders and to start immediate investigation process of those incidents which caused even the death of one trader.

Valentyna Korobka, FTUEU Chairwoman clearly announced all demands on behalf of small entrepreneurs to Ukrainian authority and called on traders to mobilize and unite as only traders themselves can and have to protect their rights and interests.

StreetNet International has already expressed its concern to the Mayor of Kyiv and the Speaker of Ukrainian Parliament with appeals for their consideration of the issues rose above. StreetNet requested the Officials to facilitate the investigation process with regard to the above-mentioned cases, and to take measures to persuade the Kviv City Council to adopt a more inclusive way of dealing with street/market vendors in Kyiv through negotiations with Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (FTUEU) and Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) representatives.

FTUEU has its own supporters and allies around the country. Thus, a Coalition of human rights’ Organizations of Ukraine also calls on all parties to begin negotiations as soon as possible to stop the violence on the streets and return to the legal field. It also expressed some recommendations for the government and National Police of Ukraine.

Information provided by the FTUEU.

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StreetNet International

StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.

Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.

The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies