Vendors eye Tripartite Negotiating Forum seat
By Edward Mukaro
Widely regarded as the economy’s engine room, vendors have set their sight at gaining not only a seta at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), but also a huge say, to acquire the correct wages and social protection, among others.
Zimbabwe’s economy like many others across the globe is regarded as highly informal, as a huge chunk of the country’s workforce is employed in the sector.
In its statement to mark the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), the Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) expressed its willingness to be part of the high table.
“VISET on its part will push to ensure that their stake as part of the Informal Economy now representing the major employer is well-represented at forums such as the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) in order to push for social protection, fair wages, and health care provision, amongst other many pressing needs for the sector,” stated VISET.
This year’s WDDW commemorations come at a time when hundreds of millions of lives and jobs have been lost worldwide, due to the COIVID- 19 pandemic, the majority of these being those in the least paid sectors such as the cleaning industry, transport sector and the construction industry.
“The COVID- 19 pandemic has shown a light on the gross inequalities amongst the working class of the world as there was little to no difference between the fate of those involved in menial jobs, be it in the first world, as they both had no access to healthcare nor more crucially social protection.
“In Zimbabwe, Like in many other countries, social protection was provided for through inadequate, knee-jerk interventions that had no safeguards against abuse; hence, it came as no surprise that the Office of the auditor-general revealed in Parliament on the 2nd August that there had been gross abuses of the cushioning fund facility administered through one of the mobile money transfer agencies.”
VISET also noted that owing to lockdown restrictions, women were left with the additional burden of having to supervise homeschooling as well as being the primary caregiver in homes without regard to their own physical and mental well-being.
“As is the case with the cleaning industry and food processing and distribution, they were also in the majority and severely affected as they lost productive hours with no compensation,” noted the informal workers’ body.