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Young workers in Asia-Pacific planning ahead

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4 November, 2019Establishing youth committees at national levels and ultimately forming a regional network is the main goal of the recently concluded Youth Exchange Forum in Port Dickson, Malaysia, on 21-22 October. Building capacity and encouraging young workers to get involved in union activities are among the main strategies identified to strengthen the group.

More than fifty young workers from IndustriALL affiliates in South Asia and South East Asia participated in the exchange. Young workers shared their union’s activities; in addition to organizing and building leadership, there were examples of youth camps, websites to reach more young workers, English and computer training.

During the two days of the exchange, issues like the situation of young workers globally, gender equality, the newly adopted ILO Convention 190 on gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work and communication techniques were addressed.

Isabelle Olausson, from Swedish union Vision-Sweden, told of how students at Swedish universities are encouraged to join a union and to continue their membership once they graduate and start working.

“There will be a global youth meeting in conjunction with IndustriALL’s Congress in Cape Town in 2020,”

said IndustriALL youth coordinator Sarah Flores.

“It’s important to hear your voice for the agenda of the upcoming meeting. Young workers needs to be pro-active and engage union leadership in youth activities; we need to train the future union leaders.”

Looking forward, participants discussed national action plans focusing on organizing and training young workers to build union power, and plans for youth committees, on both union and regional level.

Activities planned for next year include learning about Industry 4.0, action on 7 October, World Day for Decent Work, and to campaign for the ratification of ILO Convention 190.

Another forum was proposed for 2020, in either Indonesia, Myanmar or Thailand.

IndustriALL SEA regional secretary Annie Adviento urged participants to take up the difficulties and successes of becoming trade union leaders in the fast-changing work environment.

”This can only be realized if young workers continue to get involved in trade unions. Young workers are facing the challenges of Industry 4.0, and you, as young workers, are the ones that can put forward relevant union initiatives. IndustriALL’s regional office strongly supports activities to empower youth as well as the formation of youth structures at national and regional levels.”