27 June, 201827 young workers from national labour federations affiliated to IndustriALL met in Quezon City, Philippines, to discuss issues young workers are confronted with, as well as why workers, particularly young people, shy away from joining and participating in union activities.
In a country where youth (15 -24 years old) make up 19 per cent of the total population of 100 million, the Philippines has a large potential of union membership.
Out of the 7 million youth employed, 9.4 per cent work in the manufacturing sector, like electronics, automotive-related and clothing exports.
Lack of knowledge about unions and workers’ rights are some major obstacles identified as to why young workers are not joining unions. Other reasons are fear of losing their jobs and management threats of company closures if workers unionize. A need to inform young workers on relevant existing laws and policies was identified.
The meeting concluded with a common strategic action plan that focus on four main areas of concern; organizing and recruitment of young workers, policy recommendations, capacity building and gender equality.
Annie Adviento, IndustriALL South East Asia regional secretary said:
Involving young workers in trade unions is a must if we want strong union power. It is a big challenge that need to be addressed with vigor and sustained commitment.
The action plan developed by the young workers is an important step to make it happen and to create a better future for the workers and their families.
The meeting was held with the support of IndustriALL under the Building union power project.