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22 June, 2022IndustriALL Global Union South Asia office organized the first ever regional youth workshop in Kathmandu on June 14-15. Around 25 young trade unionists from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka participated.
Young activists engaged in a lively debate about how the IndustriALL action plan could be viewed in the context of South Asia. Issues like confronting global capital, Industry 4.0, and sustainable industrial policy were discussed.
Country reports reaffirmed that workers’ rights’ issues transcend national borders. Workers in the region are grappling with a rise in precarious work, unsafe working conditions, forced overtime, denial of social security including maternity or paternity benefits, gender pay gay, sexual harassment at workplace, and union busting.
Post Covid, workers’ situation has drastically changed with higher production targets and increased harassment on the shopfloor. Young unionists extended solidarity to workers in Sri Lanka facing an unprecedented economic and political crisis.
Reflecting on the region's trade union movement, participants agreed that union structures are traditionally male-dominated and that more work is needed to promote greater engagement of young people and women, both as members and as leaders. With participants forming a regional working group to further the conversation on youth participation, the meeting set the ball rolling.
Young activists unanimously decided to focus on three demands in IndustriALL’s youth resolution, including
- end to gender-based violence
- standard employment contract for all workers
- continuous and in-depth training in areas related to the world of work
Sarah Flores, IndustriALL youth officer, said:
“The meeting was a crucial step towards establishing recognized and institutional youth structures, not just within IndustriALL, but hopefully also in the regional trade union movements.”
Apoorva Kaiwar, South Asia regional secretary, said:
“Our young leaders will take the union movement forward and make trade unions work for young workers.”