MAY DAY 2022 – Busting Myths About Street Vendors

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Street vendors are often discriminated against due to prejudices against their work. But street vendors are essential workers for many urban communities across the world, and we want our voices to be heard!

Street vendors are workers, and they often enter in direct negotiations with authorities to advocate for their rights and their working conditions.

In many developing countries, street vendors are estimated to make up for up to 24% of the total informal employment in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

It has been extensively documented that during the pandemic, the role of street and market vendors and hawkers have provided essential goods and services to the population. Especially with regards to food security, street vendors provide fresh and quality products to low-income families.

StreetNet represents trade unions and workers’ organizations in over 50 countries all over the world. Street vendors are a legitimate part of the global labor movement: they reclaim their rights and a seat at the table.

Actually, many street vendors want to formalize their activities, but are prevented from doing so due to discriminatory legislation that does not view them as workers. Not only do street vendors want to be formally recognized as workers, they are battling daily for full access to labour rights and social protection. They already pay their fair share of taxes, in the forms of licenses, documents fees or even extortion payments

Street vendors are an essential part of the communities, providing essential goods and services and contributing to a stronger social cohesion. 🤝 They should not be criminalized and continuously harassed by law enforcement as it is happening today.

Many street vendors are educated, but in many countries, the lack of formal employment pushes even educated workers to the informal economy. 🎓 However, the level of education should not be a discrimination factor against workers.

Street vendors are essential for urban development and play a significant role in making cities more inclusive and accessible to all urban dwellers, especially the poor. However, they are often not heard in discussions on urban planning.

Street vendors are not criminals – they are simply workers who are sometimes not recognized as such due to discriminatory national legislation. However, they have been recognized as workers by the International Labour Organization.