Trade Union Movement Looks To Support Young Workers

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has announced that it plans to do more to recruit, train and support young workers over the coming year. The move comes as recent figures show that nearly 90% of under 30s on low to median incomes work in the private sector — but just 6.3% of them are in trade unions.

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Back in 1891 the Catholic Church acknowledged the essential role of Trade Unions as the only reliable way to protect the rights, safety, and well-being of workers and their families. Pope Leo XIII used his encyclical Rerum novarum to depict the plight of the urban poor and condemn unrestricted capitalism. Chief among the remedies it prescribed were the formation of trade unions and the introduction of collective bargaining.

Unions would go on to successfully lobby for the creation of a five-day work week, eight-hour work day, pensions and benefits for families, living wages for workers, and safe working conditions.

Trade Unionism was also a driving force in the creation of the YCW. Our founder, Joseph Cardijn, originally called the growing movement in Belgium the “Young Trade Unionists” and it was the plight of workers that drew Cardijn to his lifelong mission of fighting for justice and the empowerment of young workers.

Therefore, we are looking forward to supporting the TUC’s efforts to engage with young workers across the country. Already they have took time to explore the issues and found that young workers are more likely to be employed in industries that have seen huge increases in casualised work over the last decade. Retail, hospitality and social care employ large numbers of young workers.

In addition, zero hours, temporary contracts, agency work, all mean it’s getting harder and harder to balance your working life with your personal life. That’s doubly the case for young parents, trying to balance unpredictable shifts with costly and inflexible childcare. Low pay makes it hard to get by and plan for the future.

National Training and Development Worker, Marc Besford, commented on this saying: “There are so many common causes that the YCW and the TUC have been working on and I look forward to seeing how we can support each other over the coming months. We have already began greater collaboration with our colleagues at St Antony’s Centre for Church and Industry and we will be engaging with out young leaders to see how they want to get involved.”

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