Today’s young people will be the first generation since the Second World War and the creation of the European Community that will be worse off than previous generations. Younger workers are more likely to be on precarious contracts. 44% of young workers have temporary contracts which can sometime be shorter than one month and offer no social benefits such as sick leave.[1] Moreover, work no longer protects from poverty. Almost 10% of young workers are affected by in-work poverty, often unable to afford decent housing and healthy food.

IndustriAll Europe’s Youth is determined to address these pressing concerns. In September and October, the Youth Working Group met to work on its priorities and to define its roadmap of activities leading to industriAll Europe’s Congress in 2020.

Empowering young organisers: In Budapest, on 18-20 September, industriAll Europe’s Youth met for a training course on ‘Building trade union power: Empowering young organisers' organized in cooperation with the ETUI. 22 young unionists from all over Europe participated in this capacity-building training. As a result, the young trade unionists developed individual action plans to recruit more young members. These action plans are currently implemented at national level.

Integrating young people in the labour market: In Frankfurt (Main), on 24-25 October, the focus was on trade union actions undertaken to integrate young people in the labour market. Participating in the ETUC’s new European project ‘Getting young workers on board of the European Pillar of Social Rights’, our young members learned more about the German dual education system. They also exchanged with other young unionists from across Europe about best practices that they can implement in their own country.

Collective bargaining: In Belgrade, on 30-31 October, the focus was on collective bargaining for young workers and apprentices. The Youth Working Group met for the second seminar of a series organized in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Bratislava in the run up to the industriAll Europe Congress in Thessaloniki in May 2020. The participants exchanged about the collective bargaining situation in their countries and prepared their contribution for industriAll Europe’s campaign “Together at Work” for the month of January 2020 – the month of the campaign that will be dedicated to youth. The Youth Working Group also prepared their motion for the industriAll Europe Congress in 2020.

2020 will be a busy year for the Youth Working Group. A further meeting of the working group will take place on 25 May 2020 in Thessaloniki, a day before Congress opens and preparations have started for a new project. IndustriAll Europe is preparing this project together with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). A project application has been submitted to the European Commission and is currently being reviewed. We will inform our affiliates about upcoming activities as soon as the project is approved.

Reflecting on the importance of youth activities for industriAll Europe, General Secretary Luc Triangle underlined that Youth is one of industriAll Europe’s priorities. “It is our duty to address the significant challenges young workers are facing. Working conditions and prospects of young workers must be improved. At the same time, it is important that young trade unionists actively participate in our youth activities. The voice of young workers, apprentices and young unionist needs to be heard if we want to improve the functioning of the labour market and secure the future of trade unions.”

For more information, feel free to contact Patricia Velicu, policy adviser on youth.