UNI Africa Youth setting the pace for 4th UNI Africa Conference
Decent work, fair remuneration and the ability to shape their own futures. These were the demands of the UNI Africa Youth conference in Dakar. Over 50 youth representatives from all over the African continent gathered in Dakar to tackle the issues facing young people in Africa.
According to a recent ILO report, the challenge of youth unemployment is worsening in Africa. In 2016, unemployment stands at 13.1 percent and is expected to rise in 2016 by half a million to 71 million. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 64.4 million youth are living in extreme to moderate poverty (less than $3.10 per day), and unemployment in Northern Africa remains highly elevated at 29.3 per cent.
Decent work for young people is a fundamental part of UNI’s work in Africa. Union growth is an essential tool to promote sustainable development and to reduce precarious work and unemployment.
“We face the huge obstacles of unemployment, underemployment and precarious work,” said President of UNI Youth, Fortune Jegede from Zimbabwe. “We must rise to the challenge and tackle these issues. Despite the statistics, we cannot lose hope and we must come up with the solutions to change this predicament.”
“We will fight back to make it happen for young African workers. We can be the generation to change this dire situation.”
Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union Christy Hoffman told the youth conference, “There is a myth that young people are not interested in unions – we must put this myth to bed as it is patently untrue. You are the future of trade unions. We will shape the future together, we will not have it imposed upon us.”
In a workshop on union organising and growth, UNI Africa’s Campaigns and Organising Director, Keith Jacobs, told the conference, “We need passion in organising and that will come from youth. History has taught us that youth is the engine of change. Trade unions bring us together as workers to transcend borders and nationalities. Solidarity is the same in every language.”