We need to help young people get on the trade union stage.

60 young trade unionists from across Europe gathered at the industriAll Europe youth fringe event ahead of the Mid-Term Conference on 31 May – 1 June in Thessaloniki, Greece. The event was organised in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

The event marks a milestone in the work of industriAll Europe's Youth Working Group, coming exactly one year after the adoption of the European Youth Action Plan by the Executive Committee. The plan commits industriAll Europe and its affiliates to concrete steps to improve the involvement of young workers in the labour movement.

Since then, huge progress has been made with our young activists working hard to implement the plan at national level. They have managed to secure 25 national action plans in 12 countries, leading to increases in young membership of up to 10% in some cases.

Building on this success, the industriAll Europe Youth Group presented clear demands to the Mid-Term Conference, focusing on the need to have a voice at the table. These demands come a week after the historic adoption of the youth quota at the European Trade Union Confederation Congress. This means that every fourth member of a union delegation at Congress, the highest decision-making body, must be under 35. The youth quota is not an end in itself, but a tool to achieve greater youth participation. 

"Involving young people in trade unions in a meaningful way adds value to the movement," said Isabelle Barthes, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll Europe.

"It is a win-win situation: if young people feel more represented, they will join us and we will be better able to push for policies that improve their situation in the labour market. We need to hear their voice to know how to improve their working conditions. It's the only way to ensure the long-term future of our movement, while tackling the cost of living crisis that hits young people the hardest.

“IndustriAll Europe has made youth participation a priority and we are seeing the results of reaching out to young people and creating the space for them to be active.”

Romain Dargent, chair of industriAll Europe's Youth Working Group stressed:

"We are determined to build on the successes and momentum of the past year. With the implementation of our European Youth Action Plan, we have shown that young people are enthusiastic about joining trade unions and getting involved when given the opportunity. At the Mid-Term Conference, we are taking this work one step further and calling for a voice for young workers in trade unions. Unionising young workers is the only way to ensure the long-term viability of our organisations while tackling the crisis of youth unemployment, poverty, insecurity and low pay."

And the demands of industriAll Europe's youth are being heard.

In his conclusions of the Mid-Term Conference, Michael Vassiliadis, President of industriAll Europe, said:

"We need to help young people get on the trade union stage. In the coming months, we will be discussing how to better involve young trade unionists in our structures, including decision-making bodies, not whether to do so. The youth group has shown us over the past year that they are ready to be fully involved, and we need to prepare ourselves to make that possible.”

Youth flyer: EN, DE, FR