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CUT youth in Brazil discuss racial equality

4 November, 2015Forty young workers from the industrial sector met on 22-24 October to discuss racial equality. The movement needs to pursue this issue in order to promote equality and reduce discrimination.

The idea of organizing a meeting was the initiative of the industrial unions affiliated to the worker’s centre, CUT. Participants gave their views on the various forms of discrimination faced by young workers and Afro-descendants.

“Youth and the promotion of racial equality are strategic priorities for the Brazilian and Latin American trade union movements. In Brazil, as in other Latin American countries, Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples are the sectors of society most subject to discrimination. For example, Afro-descendant women are paid less than white women and the same is true for men” explained Marino Vani, IndustriALL Assistant Regional Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), who represented IndustriALL at the event.

The young workers heard a range of stories and experiences that illustrated the realities of the labour market, the trade unions and the country’s social situation. They agreed that young Afro-descendant workers are the most affected by Brazil’s economic model. Most of them are unemployed and have no access to education.

The aim of the meeting was to equip the participants with the tools necessary to make a bigger impact in the trade union movement, consolidate their commitment to the class struggle and develop youth policy for the CUT’s industrial sector.

"This initiative strengthens union power. It is important to educate our youth so they can learn about our history and understand why we suffer discrimination. Brazil has made a lot of progress in recent years thanks to the efforts of the trade unions, social movements and governments committed to racial equality. For example, there are now quotas in operation for young Afro-descendants and indigenous people at the universities and in the federal civil service. Although a lot remains to be done, the situation could improve in Brazil with income redistribution and social inclusion. We congratulate the CUT’s industrial unions, affiliated to IndustriALL, for organizing this seminar, and the participants, who are the vanguard at this moment in the history of the world” concluded Vani.