IMF reaches out to young non-manual workers
Unions should more actively organize young non-manual workers and students, and use social media as a powerful tool to connect youth and union leaders.
UK: On 24-25 October, young non-manual workers from the UK, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Japan met up for the IMF Youth Workshop on Non-Manual Workers in Eastbourne, UK. The purpose was to share ideas and practices on how to reach out to young non-manual workers and to make suggestions on what unions should do nationally and internationally to support them. The delegates discussed issues that concern young non-manual workers and students and took up case studies in a series of sessions.
The U.K. TUC and German IG Metall presented case studies and spoke about organizing young non-manual workers. Workplace issues of concern to young workers included the generation gap, burn out, long working hours, precarious work, career building, mental care, and human relationships.
The workshop participants then shared good practices of organizing youth at school and at workplaces, how to make youth understand the merit of being union members, and effective ways to use social media.
In a future-oriented session the participants debated how union structures and activities should be adapted to cater for youth, and how unions could help achieving a work-life balance and decent work for youth. Finally, the participants discussed future trends of working life.
Over the last 20 years, as youth employment has changed because of globalization, the young non-manual workers' union concerns have become more fragmented, and relate to issues of gender, migration, culture, equality, environment, and communication. The delegates shared the common understanding that unions should be more active organizing young non-manual workers and students, and use social media, which could be a powerful tool to connect young members and "old" union leaders.
The workshop participants also sent a solidarity message to the IMF affiliate Unite the Union and its young members, rallying in Westminster on October 25 under the banner of Choose Youth, a coalition of 30 U.K. organizations campaigning to save services for young people. The youth want MPs from all parties in the UK to listen and speak up for young people and young people's services (see: http://chooseyouth.org/events/).
After the workshop the IMF gathered for a meeting in its global working group on non-manual workers. The working group members confirmed that non-manual workers' issues should be a main cross-sectoral activity after the creation of new international with ICEM and ITGLWF. Oct 27, 2011 – Kan Matsuzaki