Young European Trade Unionists take action

Young Trade unionists take action to shape the future of their unions and young workers.

Globalisation, digitalisation, decarbonisation, demographic change; the world of work is undergoing multiple transformations. In this context, trade unions must develop new strategies in order to be able to respond to current as well as future challenges on the labor market and to secure their position as social and political actors.

A central challenge in this context is, among other things, the decline in union membership and the lack of young members. Together with the youth of industriALL Europe, the Competence Centre on the Future of Work wants to strengthen young trade unionists. For this reason, the Competence Center has supported young members of industriALL Europe in developing a Youth Action Plan that outlines the precarious situation of European trade unions and calls for a reorientation with a focus on young workers and their inclusion in trade unions.

A first kick-off meeting for the development of a list of demands already took place in December 2021 in Poland. During a follow up meeting in June 2022 in Romania, also organized by the Competence Centre on the Future of Work together with indurtriALL Europe, young trade unionist could work as a next step on their national action plans and their implementation.

It became clear that the young trade unionist from different European countries face similar challenges. Based on the discussion they formulated the following demands:

  • Ensure sufficient numbers of quality apprenticeship places (currently there are not enough places in most European countries).
  • Ensure that apprenticeships, once completed, lead to a good quality employment contract. Young people need an ‘Employment Guarantee’ after finishing their education and training.
  • Limit precarious short-term and agency work contracts. Many young people are trapped in short-term contracts that get in the way of a good start to their careers and adult life. Short-term contracts put young people in a vulnerable economic position and deny them access to benefits like training and life-long learning that are crucial to prepare for a just green and digital transition.
  • more involvement in debates about their situation. They expect to be actively involved in their trade unions so that they can push to improve the situation of young people on the labour market. Their voice in preparing the green and digital industrial transitions is crucial, as the transformation will affect their generation the most.

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