African street vendors support Ukraine
War, destabilisation and insecurity deepen inequalities in the name of economic interests and we condemn these inhumane measures
At the beginning of May, street vendors from 47 countries gathered in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, for the 7th International StreetNet Congress. The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Ukraine was represented at this important event by the President of the Ukrainian Entrepreneurs' Union, Valentina Korobka, and her deputy, Leonid Tonkovyd.
StreetNet was officially launched on 14 November 2002 as an alliance of street vendors with member organisations (trade unions, cooperatives or associations) that directly organise street vendors and defend the rights of workers in the informal economy.
On 4 May, Valentina Korobka, head of the Independent Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine, spoke at the 7th International Congress of StreetNet. She spoke about the situation after the military attack by the Russian army, about life and work under constant missile and artillery fire and shelling. Valentina Korobka said that 41 members of the Free Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine had died in the past year alone. The Congress delegates expressed their sincere and emotional support for Ukraine.
On 24 February 2022, Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, launching rocket attacks on several Ukrainian cities to target military units and strategic airports. On 25 February, Russian troops bombed and entered the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. This act of war has devastating consequences for all Ukrainians, but also for the world as a whole, especially at a time when countries are already struggling with an economic crisis and a global pandemic.
Any kind of armed conflict will always have terrible consequences for all workers, but the invasion of Ukraine is of particular concern to StreetNet. We must express our full solidarity with our affiliate Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (FTUEU- KVPU) and all its members, as well as with the members of the StreetNet Ukrainian team, including our international coordinator Oksana Abboud.
The consequences of this invasion are unpredictable, however, we know that the most vulnerable members of society, the poor, like the workers in the informal economy, the civilians who never chose war are always the ones who suffer the most, unlike those who sit on their geopolitical boards playing with human lives. War, destabilisation and insecurity deepen inequalities in the name of economic interests and we condemn these inhumane measures that do not respect the sovereignty of the people and can be used in the 21st century. We can only call for solidarity among all workers to resist the warmongers and stand with our Ukrainian comrades in unity and prayer for peace.
Glory to Ukraine and its Heroes