Trade Union Congress of Namibia (Tucna) and Namibia Informal, Domestic and Allied Workers Union joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Day of Street Vendors on Monday by advocating for social safety benefits for vendors.
Secretary general of Tucna Mahongora Kavihuha told vendors at Okuryangava, Windhoek about several benefits that will be facilitated by the unions, including being registered with Social Security Commission. The global celebration was first organised by StreetNet International in 2012.
Kavihuha said the organisations representing the informal traders are in advanced negotiations with the Social Security Commission to ensure that the affiliated traders under the unions are registered for the benefits. “These people, like any other workers, must enjoy the labour rights such as social protection, sustainable employment, the enjoyment of their rights as workers and social dialogue in the country. We have seen how the City of Windhoek and the government, through the police, are brutal to the street vendors. Hence they need to be engaged in unity with other street vendors to fight issues as a team,” he explained.
The 14th of November as per the international calendar is marked as International Day of Street Vendors. The Okuryangava vendors welcomed the envisaged benefits. The street vendors, who spoke to New Era while celebrating the day at the Tukondjeleni Open Market, said they feel encouraged after they were assured of the benefits.
“Imagine, before we joined the organisation [Tucna], once you become pregnant, you lose income for close to four months while you are babysitting but now we are encouraged to work hard as we will be paid by Social Security Commission during the nursing period,” said a 27-year-old vendor.
Emily Ngombe, a grade 10 dropout who took over from her mother’s business, said it has been tough for her during the time she has given birth to her children as she has no benefits.
She dropped out of school in 2014 due to poverty.
Vendors expressed their excitement, saying the initiative to have benefits as street vendors will serve as pivotal security for future street vendors.
Victoria Kanaela (55) who has been working as a street vendor for over 20 years also shared her joy saying she is happy about what the union is doing for them, however, urged them not to sell them unrealistic dreams.
SSC could not be reached for comment by the time of going to print.