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2016 - Empowering the integration of younger workers in the European Metal, Transport, Food, Services, Construction and Wood Industries (as part of the EU Social Agenda)

Short description of the action:

In a world where the labour market is in continuous evolution and where young workers in particular are increasingly facing precariousness if not unemployment, the renovation of Trade Unions is imperative in order to respond and to be able to properly address the new challenges ahead. This renovation passes through the rejuvenation of Trade Unions’ structures and strategies. This condition is common to all sectors in all European countries. Taking into account specificities in the different countries, it is nonetheless possible and necessary to learn from each other’s experience and, in some cases, even set up a common strategy. This project aimed at giving the possibility to young workers and young trade unionists to meet, share their best practices on the involvement of youth into their Trade Unions, discuss challenges, prepare recommendations to improve the situation and plan and implement common actions. Through interviews, conferences, seminars and workshops, young workers from all over Europe and across all the industry sectors - represented by the six European Industry Federations (ETUFs) EFBWW, EFFAT, EPSU, ETF, IndustriAll Europe and UniEuropa - were able to put together a booklet which gathers best practices, concerns and recommendations.

Main objectives of the action

The main objectives of the project were:
- To address issues hindering an adequate integration of young workers within current trade union structures;
- Support national trade unions in their efforts to attract and integrate younger workers within their structures and policies;
- To present and discuss policies, exchange best-practices, innovative approaches and develop a trade union policy to facilitate the integration of younger workers and to provide them with help and support;
- Facilitate the internal discussion amongst several national trade unions and the EFBWW, ETF, EFFAT, UNI-EUROPA, EPSU and industriAll Europe on how to better integrate the younger workers and their concerns and demands in the existing structures;
- Publish and present a manual for all national and European trade unions.

Key Results

The main tangible result of this project is the publication of a booklet called “Just go for it – a compendium of best practices from all over Europe on involving young people in Trade Unions”. This booklet provides an overview of good examples coming from different unions in different parts of Europe on how to integrate young people into Trade Unions. The experiences were collected through questionnaires and interviews carried our among young unionists and workers of the affiliated organizations of the 6 Industry Federations and from the examples shared during a big conference organized in Croatia where 150 young Unionist from all over Europe and all economic sectors gathered. During this conference participants had the possibility to discuss about challenges and possible solutions to further enhance youth participation. These discussions and the recommendations that followed are also collected in the “Just go for it” booklet. The title was chosen by the participants themselves to stress that young people need to be the driving force of the change and that they have to take the lead… they have to “just go for it”.
The Youth Conference and the 3 regional seminars that followed in order to disseminate the booklet and the results of the Conference where a unique opportunity to meet colleagues from all over Europe and to establish a network through formal and informal contacts. The cross-sectoral international approach ensured a coverage of the different experiences in different realities and conditions, thus mobilizing an interest among young workers. Participants to the different events and contributors to the Manual felt part of a big community. This approach made it clear that young people face similar problems all around Europe and that they can work together to solve their issues. The different activities facilitated the creation of an informal International Network of young workers/unionists. These contacts will continue also outside the framework of the project and they will expand.
The booklet, which is available in English, French, German and Italian, was created by the young unionists themselves. This sense of ownership on the “final product” is going to enhance its dissemination and it will be used by the young affiliates of the 6 European Federations to involve and attract more young workers and unionists.

The booklet and its findings will also be disseminated through the ETUFs’ campaign website “Enough of their crisis - Back 2 our future” http://www.back2ourfuture.org/. The campaign, which started in the run up to the European Parliament elections in 2014, aimed to push EU institutions and employers to put youth at the top of their agenda and to build the capacity of the trade union members to better organise young workers. The website is meant to be a platform to give a voice to the experience and the requests of young workers and to collect information on events and activities of young workers and trade unionists around Europe. The use of this platform will be beneficial to continue spreading the results of the project and to keep alive the discussion on youth participation.

Download the “JUST GO FOR IT” booklet:
ENGLISH
FRENCH
GERMAN
ITALIAN


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