Youth labour movements call for quality education for all

12 Aug 2019

We, the global trade union youth movement, stand together to celebrate International Youth Day 2019 and to send a message to the young workers of today and tomorrow, and to those who hold and exercise power within and beyond the world of work.

The theme of the 2019 International Youth Day is ‘Transforming Education’.

Education is an enabling human right and a public good with the potential to transform the lives of individuals, communities and entire countries. Yet we know from the global education union movement that the world is completely ‘off track’  and will fail to meet Goal 4 (on quality public education) of the sustainable development agenda by the 2030 deadline.

As young workers represented in the global trade union movements across sectors, we demand equitable and inclusive access to:

  • Universal quality public education that is free, equitable, non-discriminatory, inclusive and accessible to all vulnerable groups, with holistic and broad curricula that include a focus on climate change, as well as lifelong learning opportunities;
  • Well trained educators and quality learning environments that are free from violence and harassment, and in which educators – including young educators – are guaranteed decent working and employment conditions, including access to continuous professional development;

Today’s generation of youth is the largest in history. Yet too often, across the world, opportunities for young people to engage politically, economically and socially are constantly limited and undermined.

Globally, economic exclusion and youth unemployment remain just two of the major challenges we face. Two out of three young people in developing economies are without work, are not studying, or are engaged in irregular/informal employment. Also, in so-called developed countries, they are also often stuck in temporary jobs, or working under precarious contracts, or in unpaid and unlawful apprenticeships, or in so-called ‘self-employment’.

As young workers represented in the global trade union movements across sectors, we demand equitable and inclusive access to:

  • Quality apprenticeships systems and programmes that comply with laws and collective agreements, provide a decent living wage and standard social protection coverage; 
  • Quality jobs that guarantee a decent living good wage, work security via standard employment and access to social protections, good working conditions in safe and healthy workplaces with good work-life balance, as well as and trade union representation and bargaining rights.

Young workers in too many economies lack basic social protections and are often subject to discriminatory practices due to their young age. Globally, young workers are overrepresented in digital employment platforms that are characterised by precarious working conditions and contribute to outsourcing and the replacement of quality jobs by precarious jobs. Such platforms also lead to an externalisation of employers’ responsibility, a decrease in accountability, higher societal costs through a decrease of tax income and social security contributions, as well as an increased circumvention of labour law and fundamental rights such as the right to organise and to bargain collectively.

As young workers represented in the global trade union movements across sectors, we demand equitable and inclusive access to:

  • Support through future of work transitions from education into the world of work, so young people equipped with the basic skills that will enable them  fully and successfully participate in the fast-changing world of work;
  • Democratic trade unions with sustainable institutional capacity, as well as organising, bargaining and campaigning capacity. These are fundamental to strengthening young workers’ collective power.

We hear time and time again that today’s’ youth bring great leadership and resilience – now is the time to show it!

We are the Young Workers on International Youth Day 2019.