Street Traders: A Bridge Between Trade Unions and Social Movements in Contemporary South Africa

Ercüment Çelik
  • Place of Publication: Freiburg i. Br.
  • Publisher: Nomos Universitätsschriften

In this book, Ercüment Celik identifies street vendors as a bridge between trade unions and social movements. Relationships between street vendors‟ organisations in Durban, the shack dwellers movement, and COSATU – a South African trade union federation – are examined together with the “World Class Cities for All” (WCCA) campaign. The ground for an alliance between street vendors associations and trade unions is seen to emerge from the emergence of new democratic street vendors movements that have aspired for inclusive planning and recognition of their members as workers. They have been organising their members by advocacy to local government for right to livelihoods and to trading in public spaces. However, the associations have not been able to find sustainable platforms for representation. The worker identity of the street vendors influences closer relations with the union movement, whereas the blurring of the boundary between the concepts of work place and community makes the vendors association resemble social movements. Thus these associations can be seen as a link between unions and social movements. It is argued that trade unions can help street vendors‟ organisations in gaining legitimacy and official recognition, whereas the street vendors‟ organisations can help the unions in becoming more representative of the poorer workers.

Occupational group
Publication Type