Monday, 26 March 2012

India:NASVI publishes "Handbook on Law, Policy and Judgements"

StreetNet affiliate, NASVI, has published a "Handbook on Law, Policy and Judgements" affecting street vendors. It brings together all the judgements of the Supreme Court and High Court of India and the specific provisions of Municipal and Police Laws dating back since 1989. It is designed to support the work of lawyers, policy makers and vendors. 
Drawn up following two regional seminars held in Bangalore and Patna and a National Round Table held in Delhi, it has counted on the advice of a large number of senior advocates. 

NASVI comments that hawkers and and vendors are among the most regulated and taxed sectors of society but their contributions are rarely acknowledged. Sanjay, a fruit seller at a market near Sewa Nagar, in New Delhi, speaks for many when he said "I am not a licence holder; more than half my earnings are given away as bribes.I'm an illiterate, this is all I can do to earn a living.  What rights do I have?", he asks.

Licenses (or tehbazari) are issued by the municipality.  There are many different forms of license, including a yearly license and a wide range of temporary license. The manner is which licenses are issued is arbitrary and open to bribery and corruption. In some areas, it is the local politician who decides who gets a license. Furthermore, the licenses often do not stipulate the place of trade nor who has issued them. Fake licenses are traded openly. Most hawkers therefore work without a license and  tend to accept  police harassment or confiscation of goods. Most often, hawkers are compelled to bribe the police in order to regain their goods.

Most of the cases collected in the handbook refer to the right to trade and the issuance of licenses. There are 15 Supreme Court and High Court cases which are reviewed, together with a table of State and municipal laws, impacting on vendors.

Handbook Published March 2012
The full text of the handbook is available on request.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

India: Is social security for all workers, including informal workers, feasible?

The Indian Parliament passed the Unorganized Workers' Social Security Act (UWSSA) in 2008. However, three years down the road, and the Central Government has not yet formulated any social security provisions in keeping with the Act. There is one pilot scheme,  which covers 90 million people, while it is estimated that 430 million workers (or 93% of India's workforce) are informal workers or not organised (and therefore not eligible for existing social security schemes).

The National Advisory Council on Social Security (NAC) has now developed a set of Draft Recommendations to implement the Act.  The recommendations examine the scope of the application of social security, what is meant by a minimum social security package, recommendations concerning the implementation architecture and the financial implications. 
The NAC has recommended a broad definition of worker to include both informal and formal workers. It defines the minimum social security package as including life and disability cover, financial protection against ill-health, maternity benefits and pension upon retirement. 

The detailed recommendations can be viewed here:

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Togo:FAINATRASIT and Syvemacot New Manifesto Campaign

The New Manifesto campaign in Togo was organised by the two affiliates, SYVEMACOT and FAINATRASIT and was an opportunity for trade union leaders to survey markets in some of the poorest areas of the interior of the country.  Markets visited included those in Assivito, Attikpodi, Adodessewa, Nukafu, Adidogomoe and Assiyeye. The survey revealed that market vendors were subjected to very exorbitant and arbitrary fees, which ranged from 100 CFA (USD 2) to 1000 CFA (USD20) per day and the fee structure is not clear nor well regulated. 
Market vendor supports Syvemacot and FAINATRASIT

Many vendors felt that the taxes were not justified and that there was little public investment in the market, such as basic services like drinking water and toilet and sanitation facilities.  Many also complained that they were not giving receipts for the payments they made so that they could be charged later the same day. The market vendors did not consider that the market administration was receptive to their issues and failed to provide the most basic services, like a security guard for their goods.

The two organisation held a press conference to explain the results of the survey on 29th February 2012 calling on the government to develop a law on urban vending in order to regulate trading and to tax traders in a fair, transparent manner. 
Ayao Gbandjou on TV 5 talking about the New Manifesto campaign

This press conference was followed by a TV interview on 7th March on a well known programme called "And if we discuss it?"  On 9th March, the Delegation for the Organisation of the Informal Sector of the Presidency of the Republic wrote to both affiliates requesting interest in discussing their proposals further. 

Letter from Government Department to FAINATRASIT and SYVEMACOT

Peru:FEDEVAL completes first phase of the New Manifesto campaign

The StreetNet affiliate in Peru, the Departmental Federation of Street Vendors of Lima and Callao (FEDEVAL),  has completed a broad consultation of street and market traders in 6 districts of Lima in order to develop the New Manifesto for self-employed traders.  A survey was conducted in the districts of Carabayllo, Cercado de Lima, San Martin de Porres, Los Olivos, Ancon, and Puente Piedra.  It was clear that the main issue which concern the traders is the lack of clarity over trading regulations, licenses and taxes.  "These are issues which could be resolved by establishing a dialogue forum with the Municipality of Lima and by passing the draft Law on Self-Employed Workers. These are the two fundamental demands of FEDEVAL, and we hope that over the next months, there will be progress on both fronts," explained Manuel Sulca Escalante, General Secretary of FEDEVAL in a recent conversation with StreetNet.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

LFDC- DRCongo: New Manifesto document handed over to Kinshasa authorities

On 5th February 2012, representatives of the StreetNet affiliate, the League for the Rights of Congolese Women (LFDC) handed over a copy of the "Manifesto of Informal Sector Traders in the DRC" to the Bourgmestre (Mayor) of Kinshasa.
Anne Matondo hands over the New Manifesto to local authorities
Meeting with the trade union centre UNTC
The LFDC has also given copies of the New Manifesto to the market administrators, and the local authorities in the different communes of Kinshasa.  There were also meetings with the two trade union centres to hand over the New Manifesto. The LFDC has also organised information sessions in different markets about the New Manifesto.

The New Manifesto was drawn up following a survey of 10 markets based in 9 communes of Kinshasa. The first step was to identify 10 vendors who were interested in participating in the campaign. They took part in a training session to draw up the questionnaire and to agree survey techniques.  The survey was then conducted in the markets, and 100 questionnaires were completed.  There was then another workshop to pool all the answers to the survey and to develop the main demands which formed the basis of the New Manifesto document.
Information Session about the New Manifesto

While carrying out the survey, the LFDC counted also on the support of the Coalition of Women for Peace and Development (CFPD) and the National Initiative for Sustainable Development (INADED).

Key Issues

The key issues included in the New Manifesto are:

Illegal and corrupt practices and harassment of vendors: illegal demands for taxes; existence of multiple tax authorities such as hygiene inspectorate, police, customs, fire services, environmental authorities; the harassment of immigration officials and frontier police; illegal confiscation of goods; sale of false documents which are not recognised by the State.

Difficulties encountered during work:
Fluctuating prices; lack of capital, devaluation; electricity cuts; high transport costs; delays in delivering merchandise; fraud; theft;  lack of storage space; exposure to bad weather conditions; lack of payment to police and civil servants resulting in begging and reducing customers' purchasing power;
Street vendors in Kinshasa suffer from a  tax jungle warfare
Demands to the authorities:
Fixing a regular price for taxes;reduce the number of taxes; regular payment of civil servants and police forces; implementation of fiscal laws; regular supply of electricity; ensure safety and security in markets; determine which authority is competent to collect which taxes; determine the respective role of the migration police, the municipal police and hygiene inspection services; set up a committee to follow-up on demands;

The Manifesto also includes a list of other recommendations to improve the working lives of market and street vendors.  The LFDC will continue to lobby the authorities to set up a dialogue committee with them.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

NIger: FENASEIN and UGSEIN survey market vendors as part of New Manifesto campaign

Workshop to review results of survey

Ist March Workshop Participants

StreetNet's two affiliates in Niger, UGSEIN and FENASEIN have completed the first phase of the New Manifesto campaign. After surveying 8 markets, they held a workshop to compile the results of the survey and to draw up the New Manifesto. The main issues related to on-going harassment by the municipal police and other authorities and the need for the regularisation of trading places on the street.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Lome, Togo, le 8 mars 2012, Declaration - Droits de la Femme Travailleuse: la protection social universelle

Déclaration sur le Droit a la Protection Sociale Universelle
À l’Occasion de la Journée Internationale des Femmes, le 8 mars 2012
Par StreetNet International, la Confédération Syndicale Internationale-Afrique, l’International des Services Publiques et les Centrales Syndicales du Togo

Les participants et participantes  à cette commémoration ont entendu avec intérêt  la synthèse du rapport intitulé ‘’l’écart salarial entre hommes et femmes reste identique’’ et le programme du Bureau International du Travail  pour 2012 qui prévoit la possibilité d’établir une recommandation sur la protection sociale universelle.
Kamissa Dembele, PSI inaugure la commémoration avec Ghislaine Saizanou, CSI, et Sébastien Teve, Secrétaire Général du CSTT
Les participants et participantes  reconnaissent que la sécurité sociale est un droit qui fait partie de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme. Cependant, en Afrique Occidentale et Centrale, c’est encore très loin de la réalité. Les travailleurs  et travailleuses aussi bien de l’informel et du secteur formel, manquent de sécurité sociale, y compris l’accès aux services de base, et sont vulnérables en cas de maladie, accidents et vieillesse. Ce sont les travailleurs et travailleuses de l’économie informelle qui sont  les plus concernés  par ces difficultés. Le travail des enfants est largement répandu dans l’économie informelle et les zones rurales et est la conséquence de  la pauvreté et des revenus précaires.
Annie Diouf, CNTS Senegal et Juliana Afari Brown, StreetNet Ghana Alliance 

La protection sociale universelle signifie un minimum de protection pour tous dans les différentes périodes de la vie. Elle soutiendra particulièrement les plus pauvres et les plus vulnérables, dont la grande majorité sont des femmes de l’économie informelle. La protection sociale universelle comprend:
  • Ø   Une garantie d’accès universelle de santé de base y  inclus la protection à la maternité financée par les impôts et les systèmes d’assurance.
  • Ø  Une sécurité de revenus garantie pour les enfants, à travers un système d’allocation familiale
  • Ø  Une assistance pour les chômeurs et les personnes à faibles revenus et les personnes handicapées
  • Ø  Un système de pension de base  pour la vieillesse
Discussions pendant la commémoration

En même temps qu’on reconnaît les différences d’approche d’un pays à l’autre,  et les différents niveaux de compromis de la protection de la sécurité sociale de la part des gouvernements respectifs, les participants et participantes  ont convenu de :
  •  Soutenir des initiatives  pour discuter de comment améliorer et approfondir la protection de la sécurité sociale dan leurs pays respectifs, en prenant en compte particulièrement les besoins des femmes de l’économie informelle ;
  • Ø  Distribuer cette déclaration  à leurs membres ;
  • Ø  Envoyer cette déclaration aux centrales syndicales des pays respectifs en demandant qu’elles soutiennent les recommandations proposées sur la protection sociale universelle  à la prochaine conférence du BIT ; et qu’elles prennent en compte les besoins des femmes de l’économie informelle dans leurs propositions à la Conférence ;
  • Ø  Demander aux centrales syndicales l’inclusion des femmes des organisations de l’économie informelle  dans leurs délégations à la Conférence du BIT de 2012.
Participants dans la commémoration
 Fait à Lomé, Togo,  le 8 mars 2012
StreetNet International
Confédération Syndicale International –Afrique (CSI-Afrique)
Internationale des Services Publiques-Afrique (ISP-Afrique)
CGCT –Confédération Générale des Cadres du Togo
CNTT-Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Togo
CSTT –Confédération Syndicale des Travailleurs du Togo
GSA – Groupe de Syndicats Autonomes
UGSL –Union Générale des Syndicats Libres
UNSIT – Union Nationale de Syndicats Indépendants du Togo

Affiliées de StreetNet International
StreetNet Ghana Alliance-Ghana
CNTG-  Guinée
CNTS -Sénégal
SUDEMS- Sénégal

Autres Organisations des Travailleurs et Travailleuses de la Économie Informelle:
NAPETUL- Liberie

Lome, Togo, International Women's Day, Declaration on the Right to Universal Social Protection, 8th March 2012

Declaration on the Right to Universal Social Protection
On the Occasion of International Women’s Day, 8th March 2012
By StreetNet International, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-
Africa) Public Services International and Trade Union Centres of Togo
Kamissa Dembele, PSI, opens commemoration, with Ghislaine Saizanou,  ITUC-Africa (right) and CSST General Secretary Sebastien Tevi (left)

The participants at the conference heard with interest about the report entitled “Pay Gap between men and women unchanged” and the plans for the ILO conference in 2012 to discuss the possibility of establishing an international standard in the form of a Recommendation on a universal social protection floor.

The participants recognised that social security is a human right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, in West and Central Africa, it is still far from being a reality. Both formal and informal economy workers lack social security, including access to basic services, and are vulnerable in sickness, accidents and old age. Informal economy workers face these difficulties most acutely. Child labour is largely found in the informal economy and rural areas and is a consequence of poverty and income insecurity. 

Annie Diouf, CNTS, Senegal and Juliana Afari Brown, StreetNet Ghana Alliance 
 The universal social protection floor refers to a minimum set of protections for all persons at different stages of their life cycle. It will particularly support the poorest and most vulnerable, the great majority of whom are women in the informal economy. 
It includes the following:

Ø  Universal guarantee of access to basic health services, including maternity protection, funded by taxes and insurance systems;
Ø  Guaranteed income security for all children through a system of family and child benefits;
Ø  Social assistance for the unemployed or  working poor and the disabled;
Ø  A system of basic pensions for people in old age;
Discussion at the commemoration

While recognising differences in approach from one country to another, and the different levels of commitment to social security protection on the part of the respective governments, the participants agreed to:

Ø  Support initiatives to discuss how to improve and extend social security protection in their respective countries, with particular attention to the needs of women in the informal economy;
Ø  Distribute this declaration to their respective membership ;
Ø  Send this declaration to the trade union centres in their respective countries, requesting that they support the proposed recommendation on the universal social protection floor at the forthcoming ILO conference; and that they take into account the needs of women in the informal economy in their proposals to the conference;
Ø  Request the trade union centres to include women from representative organizations of informal economy workers in their delegations to the 2012 ILO conference.
Participants at the commemoration

StreetNet International
 International Trade Union Confederation –Africa (ITUC-Africa)
Public Services International (PSI –Africa)
CGCT –General Confederation of Professionals of Togo
CNTT-National Confederation of Workers of Togo
CSTT –Trade Union Confederation of Workers of Togo
GSA – Group of Autonomous Trade Unions
UGSL –General Union of Free Trade Unions
UNSIT –National Union of Independent Trade Unions of Togo

StreetNet International Affiliates
StreetNet Ghana Alliance-Ghana
CNTS -Senegal

Other Informal Economy Organisations:
NAPETUL- Liberia

Friday, 2 March 2012

Kenya: National Leadership Workshop for Disabled Workers

leadership training for disabled workers in Kenya
The StreetNet affiliate in Kenya, the Kenyan National Alliance of Informal Traders,  held a leadership training workshop for its disabled members on March 1-2nd.  It was the first time that such a meeting was held and was much appreciated by all participants. Disabled people and albinos face considerable discrimination in Kenya.  KENASVIT is one of the few organisations which is actively organising disabled workers, encouraging them to take up leadership positions in their organisation and including their demands in negotiations with the municipalities.

KENASVIT is about to start  a survey of its members in 7 municipalities in order to collect their demands for a New Manifesto.  Disabled workers will be one of the issues included in the survey.