BWI ends the year strong, launches youth research paper

Ending the year on a high note, BWI launched a youth research paper which aims to understand the tendencies of unionisation among its young members, the problems and challenges faced by young workers and their unions, and good organising strategies to attract more young workers to the trade union movement. 

Titled “The Future is Now! Building Youth Power in BWI Affiliates,” the paper presented the major findings of the global union’s 2020 Global Youth Survey, with the objective of defining the current state of its affiliates’ youth work and to help enhance their youth agenda and policies.

Sixty-four (64) BWI affiliates joined the survey which delved into their existing youth structures, youth organising efforts, and campaigns and activities focused on young workers. The survey is designed as a tool to encourage trade unions to put more time and effort in bringing in more young workers to trade unionism, especially in the unions’ leadership structures.  

Lauding the youth research paper, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said that young trade unionists are some of the most progressive young people in the world who are going beyond their workplaces and consistently challenging governments and corporations.

“They are taking on the forces that shape the world, demanding democratic processes and progressive and sustainable policies. “Young workers are our hope of union power for the future. And from what I’ve read from our research paper and personally witnessed from our affiliates, I can confidently say that the future of the global trade union movement is bright,” Yuson said.  

The research paper forwarded several recommendations to sustain and strengthen young workers’ commitment, participation and leadership in trade unions. One glaring proposal is for trade unions to make the development and promotion of a youth agenda a common and shared practice. It said that having a youth committee is not enough to secure active youth engagement in union structures and actions. The paper asserted that there is a need to develop a specific youth agenda and youth-specific action plans and policies to ensure young workers’ active and sustained engagement. 

The completion of the research paper was first announced in BWI’s first-ever youth-led webinar last October. The survey, which served as the paper’s primary source of information, was originally conceived by Jin Sook Lee, BWI’s former Global Campaigns Director. She passed away not long after holding a preliminary discussion on the outline and contents of the survey form.

Download the BWI Youth Research Paper in English  here. 

You can also download the paper in French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Khmer, Malay, Nepali, Russian, Serbo Croatian, Spanish, Tamil and  Turkish  here.  

*The Executive Summary of  Youth Research Paper will be available in other languages soon.