27 South Asian unions demand decent jobs on International Youth Day

Undeterred by the COVID-19 pandemic, 27 trade unions in South Asia joined BWI in marking this year’s International Youth Day by calling for decent, safe and permanent jobs for all. 

In India, BMS in Punjab State, TKTMS, INRLF and AITKMS in Tamil Nadu State, HKMP and CLU in Bihar State, DANMU, MAMU, DNMS and NMPS in Delhi, BNKMU and UPGMS in Uttar Pradesh State, AHBWU and RPKNMS in Rajasthan State, NMS in Maharashtra state, BMS in Gujarat State, INBCWWF, OFMFPWU, OKKS in Odisha State and KKNTC in Kerala State held different activities and actions to mark the event.

Notably, more than 100 participants from the state’s different districts, including trade unions, civil society organisations and representatives from employers, attended an online meeting hosted by TKMS to mark the occasion. 

In Bangladesh, BSBWWF, BBWWF and PBSKL took part in the international event, while CUPPEC, CAWUN and ANCWU led the activities in Nepal, and NTUF in Sri Lanka. 

Young trade unionists from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also actively participated in a “Shout Out for Decent Jobs” webinar organised by BWI’s International Youth Committee on 12 August. Young workers sang, danced, rapped, recited poems and delivered speeches to support the call for decent jobs. BWI’s South Asia affiliates sang the Hindi version of “We Shall Overcome.” 

BWI Asia Pacific Youth Committee Chair and AIKTMS-Youth President Gopinath Panneerselvam lauded his fellow young trade unionists for leading their respective unions’ celebration of International Youth Day and linking it with the demand for decent, safe and regular jobs for all. 

“We are called the lockdown generation, a generation of young people who are suffering from deep uncertainty and increasing hopelessness. I would like to remind my fellow young workers that all hope is not lost. We still have the power to change the system. If young trade unionists will work together, we can build a better world,” Panneerselvam said. 

For his part, BWI Asia Pacific Vice-Chair and BWI-Indian Affiliates Council President Dr. R.C. Khuntia released a video message to express his solidarity to young workers and urged unions to prioritise reaching out and organising more young workers and promote youth leadership in trade union structures to capably respond to their issues. Khuntia explained that this year’s celebration of world youth day is an important opportunity to recognise young workers and trade unionists, whom he said are the torchbearers of the global trade union movement.