was called “Fulfilling SDG11 & the NUA beyond the #COVID19 through the
Right to the City” and Maíra’s presentation was included in the section about
Social protection mechanisms and securing livelihoods, particularly in the
Maíra focused on the case of Brazil, in which the National Congress approved an inclusive and universal policy aligned with the principles of basic universal income to tackle the consequences of COVID-19.
Sunday, July 5, was supposed to be just another day for informal traders in Chitungwiza, a suburb in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
Informal traders in Zimbabwe always had to struggle with harassment from police officers. Even though most of the population works in the informal economy, authorities have never treated informal traders kindly. Arrest and confiscation of goods are the routine, and the government has led several operations to penalize and eliminate informal economy workers in recent decades.
However, the events on July 5 were shocking even for Zimbabwe standards.
Informal economy workers of the world are united calling for a transformation of the model of work, stating: “The economy cannot recover without us!”.
Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) Network Global Solidarity Platform is an alliance of informal traders, home-based workers, domestic workers and waste pickers. On May 1, 2020 we issued the global joint statement “COVID-19 and the World’s Two Billion Informal Economy Workers”, calling on governments to partner with informal economy workers for relief, recovery and resilience efforts.
Work in the
public spaces: surviving stigma, violence, and harassment
Oksana presented the unique challenges faced by informal economy workers in cities, who make up 44% of all workers. Despite their relevance and contribution to urban life, economic and urban planners seem to view informal workers, and street vendors in particular, as problematic, perceiving these workers as a source of crime and deregulation. However, this criminalization does not take into account the value and dignity of street vending work, as it is an alternative to thousands of people that the formal employment system is unable to absorb and who legitimately go to the streets to sell goods to earn the livelihood of their families in a very honest way.
Informal economy workers’ organizations across the global economy call on governments at all levels to partner with us on relief, recovery and resilience efforts that are emerging from the grassroots during this time of unprecedented crisis.
Informal Economy Workers Are — and Have Always Been — Essential Workers
Street vendors and market traders are a crucial link to food security
and basic necessities, especially for the poorest segments of society.
Waste pickers / recyclers provide sanitation and solid waste services
that contribute to public health, lower landfill costs and a healthier
environment. Domestic workers are on the frontlines of meeting hygiene
standards and providing care, including for the sick and elderly.
Home-based workers keep supply chains running and are sewing masks and
medical coveralls for the frontline workers. Economies everywhere depend
on our work.
Impact of the pandemic on the street/market vendors and all informal traders
COVID-19, a global catastrophe and emergency brought huge challenges not only
related to the health of the whole world population but also economic decrease
and livelihood troubles which require fast and proper solutions from the
consolidated actions of governments and all stakeholders, to make sure – No
One is Left Behind!
International, representing over 690 000
street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers in 54 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe,
is deeply concerned about unprecedented pandemic COVID-19 and its rapid spread
around the globe which has an enormous negative impact on one of the most
vulnerable category of workers in informal economy. These are the workers who
are usually not covered by labour laws or receiving social and health
protections in their countries.
and market vendors are those whose working place is public space and the
streets where they earn their basic livelihoods, however, to keep safe and not
to be exposed neither to the COVID-19 infection nor to be a transmitter of this
infection, they also need to stay in self-isolation in quarantine and maintain
The 14th of November is the day when Us, Street Vendors from all around the world celebrate our struggle and strength.
As we get
here to celebrate the international street vendors day, there is the need to push
for the ratification of the ILO convention 190 on the Elimination of Violence and
Harassment in the World of Work.
This is especially important for the informal economy workers around the world, as a large percentage of street and market vendors continue to face all forms of harassment and violence in their working spaces on a daily basis.
StreetNet International, representing more than 600 000 members in the sector of street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers organised in 54 affiliated organisations in 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe, expresses its deep concern with the current situation in South Africa where street vendors and informal traders from other neighbour countries have fallen victims to the violence and looting and currently are experiencing a xenophobic attacks.
Streetnet International condemns
the violence against immigrant traders and street vendors exercised in South
Africa and calls for tolerance and peace, proper treatment and respect towards
each human and worker despite the nationality and residential status.
StreetNet is committed to
improving the lives of street vendors in all countries of the world, to oppose
xenophobia and to discourage member organisations from adopting xenophobic
policies or practices in relation to foreign nationals from other countries.
One of the StreetNet Resolutions, adopted during its first Congress in 2004 on “Foreign and migrant street vendors”, clearly addresses prevention of xenophobic attacks towards immigrant informal traders and, in its turn, “encourages informal market vendors, street vendors and hawkers in different countries to engage voluntarily in trade with each other, and to develop the suitable terms and conditions for such trade to their own advantage”.
108th Session of the International Labour Conference: Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work
Position Paper on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work
This document is based on the recommendations of the Parallel Commission on “Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work”, which convened during the 6th StreetNet International Congress on 11 April 2019 in Kyrgyzstan.
Taking into account the reflection of the Parallel Commission on “Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work”, it was noted that:
Informal economy consists of various sectors of workers who are outside the traditional definitions of a “worker”. So-called employer-employee relationships are not applicable to these sectors. Many are self-employed and also operate independent economic units. Identity and representation of this category of workers is complex in the value chain concept.
To read a full Position Paper document, please click here.
The 6 Congress of StreetNet International (SNI) will take place on 09-12, April in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
To have balance among StreetNet regions, StreetNet rotates the congress venue each time. The Congress is the highest decision-making structure in the organization and meets every three years to discuss the challenges of the sector and consult on strategies in moving forward as a unified voice. This year, over 90 delegates from 49 affiliates in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe representing a membership of over 560000 street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers, will be joined by allies in the movement of informal economy to share knowledge, affirm goals and priorities.