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President L sIBANDA

ZCIEA Represent Informal Economy at the Global Labour University Alumni workshop

by Fungai Munetsi

ZCIEA National President Lorraine Sibanda who is also the StreetNet
International President represented the Informal economy at the Global Labour University (Africa) Alumni Workshop on the 17th of September 2019. The theme of the workshop was: Neoliberal Capitalism Resurgence and Prospects of a Counter Movement in the Global South.

The Global Labour University (GLU) is a network of universities, international and national trade unions, civil society organizations and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to provide academic qualification programmes for trade unionists, labour activists, and experts.

GLU offers Masters Programmes in five universities namely University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, Penn State University in the USA, The Jaawaharlal Nehru University in India, University of Kassel in Germany, and The State University of Campinas in Brazil.

At the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, GLU offers Engage Programme which is an eight weeks certificate leadership training program consisting of five one-week modules and two weeks of practical group research. ZCIEA Secretary-General Wisborn Malaya participated in the Engage program at the University of Witwatersrand in 2013, Kizito Mupunga the National Youth Chairperson in 2018 and Fungai Munetsi Information Officer in 2019.

A total of 54 participants from African countries participated at Global Labour University (GLU) Africa Alumni Workshop Harare, Zimbabwe from the 16th to 20th of September 2019. ZCIEA Secretary-General Wisborn Malaya, ZCIEA National Youth Kizito Mupunga and ZCIEA Information Officer Fungai Munetsi also participated in this workshop as GLU Alumni.

ZCIEA National President Lorraine Sibanda presented on the Politics of gender, labour, precariousness and the Informal Economy in Africa articulating the challenges being faced by informal traders which are characterized by men, young people, people with disabilities and a larger percentage being women. In her presentation, she pointed out that Informal economy workers suffer physical, moral and sexual violence and harassment which disproportionately affects women.

There are brutal evictions from their workplaces, confiscation of goods and arrests and burdensome tax levies. No maternity cover in the Informal Economy, women work throughout their term of pregnancy. She also highlighted the negative effects of unpaid work by women in the informal economy where a sad incident of a woman selling tomatoes in the streets lost her baby who died after being crushed to death by Municipal Police during brutal evictions in Masvingo.

Africa is also experiencing xenophobic attacks which bring a lot of violence that affects cross border traders and immigrant workers. There is a great need for governments to revise their approaches and develop as well as take decisive moral action as an immediate intervention. ” A strategy to campaign for the ratification of the International Labour Organisation Convention 190 needs to be developed; StreetNet International and its affiliates worldwide are already working on a strategy.”

ZCIEA Information Officer Fungai Munetsi shared ZCIEA’s initiatives during Reflection on Experiences in Africa: The fourth Industrial Revolution, changes of work and governance in Africa. Mr. Munetsi said ZCIEA has developed an online database system that is used to capture information on informal economy workers in Zimbabwe (ZCIEA members) i.e. name, national identity number, date of birth, gender, territory, and trade. The ZCIEA online database system is also used to create membership cards, generate reports according to gender, age group, trade or territory. The other functions of the ZCIEA online database include communication to members through bulk messages, a platform for online education for members. Mr. Munetsi said even though the fourth industrial revolution is a serious concern to trade unions and humanity at large, providing capitalism a platform to redefine itself, trade unions and associations should embrace technology and use it to their advantage.

Key issues that were discussed include:

  • Labour and politics in Africa; Past present and future
  • Development Aid, trade Agreementsand Labour Rights
  • Trade Unions, Politics, Social Movementsand the Construction of Resistance
  • Africa and the future of work – Reflections on the future of work in the sharing economy
  • Labour and social justice: Issues, challenges and strategies
  • The Politics of Gender, Labour, Precariousness and the
    informal economy in Africa
  • Migration, xenophobia, work and precarity in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities
  • GLU Online Academy:MOOCs and tutoring
  • Resistance in the face of precarious work and life: The African
    experience –precarity as a condition of life and base of collective
    politics
  • Reflection on Experiences in Africa: The fourth Industrial Revolution, changes of work and governance in Africa.
  • The Global Labour Column
  • GLU Regional Alumni Network- challenges and opportunities

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