by Fungai Munetsi


Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) National President Lorraine Sibanda, who is also the Streetnet International President, along with ZCIEA Secretary General Wisborn Malaya, represented the Informal Economy at the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference focusing on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, held in Geneva from June 10 to June 21, 2019,

ZCIEA, as a notable organization championing the rights of Informal Economy Workers in Zimbabwe, stands among the distinguished participants at the prestigious International Labour Conference in Geneva. This Conference serves as a pivotal platform where Government, Business, and Labour leaders converge to deliberate on critical social and labour issues of global significance. Noteworthy outcomes include the formulation and adoption of international labour standards through Conventions and Recommendations, with mechanisms in place to oversee their implementation at the national level.

During the Conference, ZCIEA and StreetNet President Lorraine Sibanda delivered a compelling opening statement underscoring the imperative need to combat Violence and Harassment within the workplace of Informal Workers. Her address was specifically directed to the Standards Setting Committee on Violence and Harassment at the International Labour Organization (ILO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

President Lorraine Sibanda emphasized, “Informal economy traders and street vendors are the victims of all types and forms of violence and harassment in the world of work.”

Informal Economy traders and street vendors suffer from physical, moral and sexual violence and harassment, including: brutal evictions from their working places (which are public space and streets); confiscation of goods; arrest and multiple or burdensome tax levies; extortion or bribes; arranged raids for the interest of big capital; planned fires of markets; “beautification” policies of local governments that do not contain any proposed alternatives for the street and market vendors

“On behalf of informal economy workers, StreeNet pleads with this House to consider effective preventive protection measures of the informal economy workers from daily violence and harassment perpetrated by public authority and enforcement agents, who abuse their position of power by exploiting informal economy workers”, says President Sibanda.

Furthermore, ZCIEA actively engaged in discussions and proposed amending the article to explicitly recognize public authorities as perpetrators of violence within the informal economy setting.