Under the theme ”Building women and youth power” 40 young and women trade unionists from BWI affiliated unions in Central Asia and Southeast Europe gathered for a seminar and training focused on organizing and campaigning in Belgrade, Serbia on the 3-6th of April.
”Young people in our region need unions to protect their rights, but they don’t know anything about unions or their rights at work, because no one told them. Unions need to change their image to reach young people. They need to be out at workplaces much more than what they do today,” said one of the young participants at the seminar.
Much of the discussions focused on how to build more inclusive trade unions and how young and women workers can claim bigger space both in their unions and in the workplaces. The participants also shared examples from successful campaigns in the two sub-regions.
For example in Turkey, BWI’s affiliate YOL-IS has through a major campaign managed to organize and improve the conditions for thousands of workers employed by subcontractors. In Ukraine BWI’s affiliate PROFBUD has led a successful campaign to organize and fight for better conditions for cement workers through the country. In Macedonia the construction workers’ union SGIP pushing for better health and safety at public infrastructure projects under the campaign ”facilities without fatalities”.
”To grow stronger unions in the region, we need to organize, and the best organizers are often young people. Women and youth need to reclaim their space in their unions,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI when addressing the meeting.