UNI Europa Youth Seminar 2014
Young trade unionists from across Europe gathered in Athens, Greece, on March 5-7, for the UNI Europa Youth Seminar 2014 hosted by Greece’s Panhellenic Federation of Postal Associations (UNI Global’s national affiliate union, POST – GR). As the centre of a new youth based union movement, Greece was a clear choice to meet for sharing information and concerns, and most importantly, for collaborating on solutions to address the troubling trends affecting young people and young workers in the skills and services sectors.
The seminar’s range of activities, including presentations, area meetings, panel discussions, and workshops addressed priority topics for young workers; namely, the so-called crisis and the affects of subsequent austerity measures on young people, the growing trends of internships and apprenticeships in Europe, as well as the negative impacts of privatization on young workers in the union movement. Guest speakers included: Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, Sofia Kanta, Vice President of UNI Europa Womens’ Committee, Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa, Evi Zaimi, from OTOE of International Relations, Salvatore Marra, from the ETUC Youth Committee, Alix Masson, Policy and Advocacy Officer from the European Youth Forum, and Pablo Sanchez Centellas, from the EPSU, to name just a few.
With youth unemployment all over Europe at record highs, and young people representing the growing majority of precarious workers, UNI Europa Youth had a strong message to send to unions: if young people are to breathe life back into the union movement, it is up to unions to create an environment of trust and inclusion. The trade union movement must pay attention to the changing nature of work facing the new generations of young people, ensure that there is dignity at every workplace, social and economic inclusion in the new world of work, and respect of every worker’s human rights, such as, fair remuneration, non-discrimination, freedom of association and collective bargaining.