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IndustriALL celebrates ten years of youth work

21 July, 2022Young workers from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany participated in a hybrid meeting in Buenos Aires to celebrate ten years of IndustriALL projects for and with young people.

"This event is an occasion to speak with colleagues who have been involved in IndustriALL Global Union’s youth training projects over the past ten years. Our main projects have been with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) foundation and IG Metall. We have also run youth projects SASK, Union to Union and DGB,”

said IndustriALL’s regional secretary Marino Vani.

Young people were in the meeting in Buenos Aires and several former project participants joined remotely. They spoke about their involvement in IndustriALL's youth projects and how their careers have since then.

Javiera from Chile said:

"In 2012, Industrial Chile-Constramet asked me to take part in the project run by IndustriALL and FES. I’m working in politics now and am still involved in union causes. Much of what I learned during the project and at the union still serves me today.”

Like Javiera, Leticia from the Dominican Republic also took part in IndustriALL's youth projects and is now involved in politics. She works in the Women’s Ministry alongside Minister Mayra Jiménez (former member of IndustriALL Executive Committee) on gender-related policies.

Others said they had continued working in unions, reaching leadership positions. Leandro from Brazil said:

"In 2012 I was the CUT’s youth secretary. Today, I’m president of the metalworkers' unions for Soracaba and the surrounding region. We worked hard to get young people to join and now our members’ average age is 28 years. I’m still involved in the struggle and am now running as a potential candidate to be a state senator for Sao Paulo. It’s really great that IndustriALL will continue with the project for many more years to come."

Like Leandro, Belén from Argentina took part in IndustriALL projects with FES and DGB and now holds a leadership position in her union. She became the first woman leader in the Zárate branch of the metalworkers’ union UOM.

Participants also applauded Perla, a young woman from Nicaragua: she felt empowered by her involvement in youth projects and is now a substitute on IndustriALL's Executive Committee.

Angelica Jimenez-Romo, from the transnational trade union policy department at IG Metall Vorstand, spoke on behalf of the German participants. She said that, despite the pandemic and other crises, the youth projects have been a real success, as many young people continue to work together, laying the foundation for the next generation to continue their work.

IndustriALL's global project coordinator, Sarah Flores, said that the youth projects cultivate future leaders, enabling participants to grow professionally and to take up positions of power in many unions. This had convinced IndustriALL of the importance of investing in youth.

In a video message, IndustriALL President Jörg Hoffman said:

"I would like to send my sincere congratulations on this joyful anniversary. Ten years ago, Latin American trade unions did not have youth policies and did not represent the interests of young people. Much has changed since then, partly thanks to the training projects – most unions now have youth and gender equality policies. I want to thank you all for all your hard work, and I wish you all the best."