Twenty-two young trade unionists, including ten women from IndustriALL Global Union Nepali affiliates, met in Hetauda, Nepal, on 26 and 27 March 2019 to strengthen the voice of youth in the union movement.
The unemployment rate for Nepali workers between the ages of 15 and 29 is 19 per cent, and is a major challenge for young people in the country.
Young trade union activists highlighted that most young workers in Nepal are precarious workers and struggle with job insecurity.
In order to increase youth membership, participants said unions should pay special attention to creating awareness of the benefits of unions and reaching out to youth to get them into union fold. Unions also need to create adequate youth representation in union structures and leadership positions, and allot financial resources for youth activities.
Participants underlined that unions need to play the role of catalyst in challenging social and cultural factors affecting women’s participation in trade union activities. Unions’ strong interventions to address harassment and violence against women at the workplace and society at large will help increase women membership.
A large number young Nepali workers migrate to the Middle East and South-East Asian countries in search employment opportunities. While labour migration of youth creates positive opportunities for a better life and livelihood, many migrant workers end up in precarious jobs, with dangerous working conditions where violations of workers’ rights are common.
Participants called for international solidarity to defend the rights of migrant workers, and for unions to work effectively at the national level to develop appropriate industrial policies and create adequate employment opportunities.
Participants decided call upon their respective union leadership to undertake following actions:
- Create sustainable union structures including youth committees in order to enhance youth representation in union positions
- Develop intervention strategies and trainings to stop harassment and violence against women
- Build union power through organizing young workers, including precarious workers, and involve young workers in organizing initiatives
- Allocate financial resources for youth activities
- Communication training for young union members
IndustriALL’s youth and project officer, Sarah Flores, said:
“It is encouraging to see the enthusiastic participation of young unionists in this workshop. There’s no doubt that active participation of young women and men is vital for a strong trade union movement in Nepal and we hope that issues raised by youth are taken seriously by the union leadership.”
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