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Youth academy builds strong network of activists in South East Asia

27 March, 2023Three years of training through the IndustriALL-FES South-East Asia youth activist-leadership academy has strengthened the network of young unionists in the region, as well as their demands.

The training has resulted in a concrete action plan crafted from the IndustriALL youth resolution, a campaign plan to increase young workers at all levels in trade union activities, building-up skills of young workers to become effective negotiators and campaign to end gender-based violence and harassment.  

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the youth academy met online, discussing the changing world of work, multinational companies and workers' rights, trade agreements and social justice, and the elimination of gender-based violence.

“The continuity of the South East Asia youth academy has created a strong network of activists who discuss and act collectively. We expect these future union leaders to have sufficient capacity to effectively run unions and continue to support each other,” 

said Sarah Flores, IndustriALL Global youth coordinator.

The first face-to-face session on 13-16 March in Manila, the Philippines, brought together young workers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. 

Participants visited the Bonifacio monument and Fort Santiago, taking inspiration from the Philippine liberation struggle, connecting their respective national histories with youth activism and realizing that youth plays an important role in political agendas. 

Returning to the meeting room, a dynamic debate revolved around the notion of work, new forms of work, just transition, organizing and campaign. The young unionists also discussed their youth policies. 

“We must continue to organize young workers. Unions should develop training modules for youth and organizing campaigns with the target to organize at least ten per cent of all young workers in the workplace,” 

said Intan Indria Dewi, secretary of the IndustriALL youth working group in South East Asia, East Asia and Pacific.

Participants have decided to organize a social media campaign and a flash mob in conjunction with IndustriALL Global Youth Conference on 19 June.

“Unions should ensure that young workers are part of negotiations concerning their future. We need to provide negotiation training for young activists. The youth resolution must be made known among all IndustriALL affiliates,”

said Jean Faye Daguman, co-chair of the IndustriALL youth working group in South East Asia, East Asia and Pacific.