India: unions to tackle challenges faced by young workers

10.08.2018

34 young trade union activists from IndustriALL Indian affiliates gathered in Nagpur on 8-9 August to discuss challenges faced by young workers at workplaces and called for renewed efforts to recruit more youth in to trade union movement.

The meeting of youth trade union activists witnessed enthusiastic participation of young unionists from across India working in various IndustriALL sectors including mining, metal industries, cement, garment and textiles, automobile, electrical and electronics. Participants underlined that young workers face enormous challenges including precarious work, low wages, poor working conditions, work intensification and lack of knowledge and training on health and safety issues.

Violations of young workers’ rights are rampant due to lack unionization and awareness about advantages and benefits of joining unions among young workers. The union movement should develop innovative and youth friendly communication strategies and dedicate adequate resources to address young workers’ issues, providing appropriate space for them in union structures and leadership positions.

Addressing the young workers, S Q Zama, general secretary of IndustriALL affiliate Indian National Mine Workers Federation said:

As we are witnessing the ascent of right wing and divisive forces across the world, young workers need to play a crucial role in building unity among workers within the union, workplaces and society at large. They should work together to remove all forms of discrimination.

Sarah Flores, IndustriALL youth and project officer said:

India has a big youth population, but young workers in India are facing challenges with high unemployment or precarious working conditions. We believe that with an exchange of experiences and solidarity, we can tackle these challenges. Achieving gender equality should be an integral part of young workers’ agenda. Now it is the high time for real action.

Participants at the meeting decided to intensify organizing efforts to attract more youth working in manufacturing sectors and precarious workers. They decided to strengthen internal communication and will also share the story of their struggle and success with IndustriALL periodically. Participants committed to organize more field meetings on union building and organizing sports and cultural events with focus on reaching out more young workers. They also took the pledge that they will never discriminate anyone the basis of their gender, religion, region, caste and ideological believes.