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India: Young trade unionists resolve to intensify union organizing

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13 October, 2017Youth representatives of IndustriALL Indian affiliates gathered in Mumbai on 9 - 10 October, 2017, and discussed challenges and strategies when organizing young workers.

45 young trade unionists participated in the two-day youth meeting in Mumbai organized by IndustriALL South Asia office. The key subjects discussed at the meeting were:

  • Challenges associated with youth representation in trade unions;
  • Issues emerging from rapid technological transformation at workplace;
  • Communication strategies and work plan strengthening recruitment of young workers into unions and their participation in trade union structures.

Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL South Asia regional secretary, addressed the meeting and said,

“Indian young workers are alienated from trade union movement and this scenario has to change. The struggle against precarious work can never be successful without young workers fighting it, as most of the precarious work is performed by young workers. We call upon our Indian affiliates to renew their focus and extend resources to increase youth membership in their unions.”

Sarah Flores, IndustriALL youth and project officer addressing the participants over teleconference said,

“Youth constitute 65 per cent of the Indian population and represents a major share of labour market in India. The youth is not only the future, they are the present. Their voice and fair representation should get due space in trade union movement. I call on young people to dare and try to be more creative in demanding their rights.”

The participants of the workshop decided to target young and precarious workers in their union organizing drive. They also decided to form youth committees in respective unions and strengthen them where they are already present. Enhancing internal and external communication, taking advantages of social media, internal youth network to share information, union rights awareness creation among youth through workshops and seminars were some of the key future strategies emerged at the meeting.

Participants also took the pledge not to discriminate anyone based on their caste, religion, region and gender and conduct themselves as progressive trade unionists.

Fahimuddin Pasha, IndustriALL South Asia programme officer and Ashutosh Bhattacharya, IndustriALL Asia Union building project coordinator lead the proceedings of the youth meeting.