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Bangladesh young unionists demand greater role

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15 July, 2019Young trade unionists in Bangladesh called for increased participation in trade union activities and leadership positions at an IndustriALL Global Union workshop in Dhaka on 5 and 6 July 2019.

Some 38 young representatives from IndustriALL affiliates in Bangladesh, including 22 women, took part in the meeting, where participants called for appropriate trade union structures and financial resources to achieve their demands.

Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL South Asia regional secretary, said:

“Trade unions in Bangladesh need to intensify their engagement with young workers and increase youth trade union membership in order to strengthen the union movement.”

Participants at the workshop also expressed concern over increasing unemployment among youth in Bangladesh. Furthermore, a large number of young workers who are employed, are working as precarious workers with poor wages, unjust working conditions and lack of job security. Participants said the government of Bangladesh should take immediate steps to address the issue of unemployment and stop precarious work.

After intense debate and frank discussion, the young trade unionists committed to work with their union leaders and take action to fulfill the following objectives:

  • Establish youth committees in respective unions within six months.
  • Take steps to develop unions’ capacity to attract and retain young leadership through creating a democratic union culture that involves young leaders, including women.
  • Increased focus on organizing young workers, including precarious workers, and involve young workers in organizing initiatives.
  • Develop intervention strategies and trainings to stop sexual harassment and violence against women, and to take the IndustriALL Pledge: Violence and harassment against women: Not in our workplace! Not in our union!
  • Work to enhance allocation of financial resources for youth activities. 
  • Communication training for young union members.

Sarah Flores, IndustriALL Youth and Project Officer said: 

“It is encouraging to see large number of young women participate in this workshop, which called on IndustriALL affiliates to enhance youth empowerment, representation and participation towards building union power.”

The meeting was also supported by 3F (United Federation of Danish Workers), the largest trade union in Denmark.