Year Of The Young Worker Update

Earlier this year we highlighted that the Trades Union Congress (TUC) had announced that it plans to do more to recruit, train and support young workers during this 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.

The TUC reported that “research shows that lots of younger workers don’t realise they’ve got problems at work. But because exploitation is all they’ve ever known, they think this is just what work is like. They don’t think they can trust their colleagues, let alone work with them to improve things. And they think if they take a stand and demand change, they’ll just be ignored. Most worryingly of all, they don’t understand what unions are or what we can do for them.”

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Therefore, we have been supporting the TUC’s efforts to engage with young workers across the country. We know that young workers are more likely to be employed in industries that have seen huge increases in casualised work over the last decade. For example, 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, said: “It is important for the YCW to support this project and the wider aims of improving the world of work for young workers. As early as 1891, the Catholic Church recognised that Unions were one of the ways in which the dignity of work could be upheld, today that need is still there.”

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