The United Nations General Assembly has been marked as the International Youth Day of August 12, beginning in 1999. The International Day of Youth is important for the development of awareness about the meaningful and fair participation of young people in all social processes and decision-making mechanisms by highlighting the opinions, actions and initiatives of young people.
The main problems faced by young people in general are; high unemployment, working in dangerous jobs without security, being exposed to low-paid jobs, not taking part in decision mechanisms. In addition to these problems, which generally involve economic issues, the young population with an increasing awareness indicates climate change as one of the biggest problems facing the world. In the survey conducted by Amnesty International on young participants, climate change stood out as the most frequently mentioned problem worldwide, followed by environmental pollution and terrorism. The fact that climate change, which is one of the issues that we attach great importance to and seek quick solutions to, is seen as a serious problem by most of young people as EFFAT gives us hope for our future plans.
EFFAT maintains a constantly better-aimed approach to the inclusion of young people in decision-making bodies. Apart from the union activities for the youth organized under the umbrella of EFFAT, all affiliated unions are expected to be the voice of the youth. All the problems and uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 epidemic have created fears and insecurities in young people that are difficult to overcome. Many young workers want to put aside their expectations of a decent job and salary and just work and save the day. Just as vital as the policies followed by the countries and the aid opportunities they offer is the necessity for unions to take the necessary responsibility for young workers.
It has been seen how important the union movement is in meeting employees’ health and safety needs during the epidemic process. EFFAT considers that unions are in the best position to give young workers the necessary motivation and confidence in the labor market. The most important reason for this is that the unions are in a mechanism that can come together with both workers and political organs. EFFAT encourages its member unions to transfer information and be in constant communication. When it comes to young workers and their representation, exemplary activities are carried out in many respects. The organizations organized by the Youth Committee in its structure and especially the online trainings during the pandemic process have been proof of these activities.
When we passed the first half of 2021, the pandemic started to decrease with the increase in the vaccination rate worldwide. EFFAT underlines that young employees should not give up their hopes for the future. On the contrary, they should improve themselves in all respects for a better future. In order to see this desire and optimistic point of view among young employees, it is necessary to make them feel safe as unions and to make sure that we are behind them as much as we can.
There are many advantages that young people can add to the union movement in terms of their private life experiences, creativity and enthusiasm. In addition, their sense of belonging to the unions they joined as young people will be stronger and long-lasting.
We salute all young trade union activists in Europe and around the world who are committed to the cause of workers’ rights with great determination and perseverance. In solidarity, we support you all in this struggle.