Twenty six young female and male participants attended the activity on 23 and 24 September, held in the mountainous area of Tanay, to assess progress attained in the past two years and devise an action plan for 2020.
The meeting challenged young organizers on how to reverse the trend of low unionization in the Philippines and the lack of appeal to young workers in joining trade unions.
“We need to win over the propaganda machine inflicted by capitalists on the mainstream media against unions,” said Risher Igrobay, a young, female shop steward from Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation Labor Organization.
“Young workers must speak out and use all the available means to get our message to workplaces, the public and to the halls of power. We will spread the word that a union is still the transformative agent of change that will fight for social justice.”
Emphasizing the importance of organizing and recruiting more young workers into the union fold, Girlie Battad, an executive board member from Nexperia Philippines Inc. Workers Union, said:
“Young workers should know the value of being organized and to know their legal and constitutional rights.”
Reflecting on young workers’ low motivation to participate in trade union activities and join unions, participants came up with innovative ideas to launch projects to attract young workers.
At the end of the youth camp, participants produced an action plan to encourage more young workers to engage in trade union activities. Young leaders plan to visit workplaces, and organize training and capacity building for young workers.
Gearing up for the 2020 IndustriALL Congress, the participants also resolved to establish a youth structure at national level.
Geraldine Hoggang, a young activist and education officer at Associated Labor Unions, concluded:
“We, the young workers, and youth in general, are often underestimated and told we are too young to understand our country’s issues and too small to make a difference. However, this youth camp reminded me that young people are the ones with the most energy and innovative ideas, and we can actually bring about the social change we want to see in our world.”
The Youth Camp 2019 is an activity under the Building Union Power project with the support of IndustriALL and Union to Union.