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International solidarity – young workers visit to French Democratic Confederation of Labour Conference

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Quincy Raymond, Chair of TUC Young Workers Forum shares their experiences of the CFDT Young Workers Conference – November 2023.

In my role as TUC Young Workers Forum Chair, I was invited to the CFDT (French Democratic Confederation of Labour) event for Young Workers in Marseilles, to learn from other international young workers and discuss organising strategies to improve organising in my own country.  

I met young workers from Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Bulgaria and France.  It was clear from our discussions that we face similar issues that impact young workers and members across different sectors and countries.

It was an amazing experience to be able listen to the ways other federations deal with the issues in workplace and government. It was also interesting how informed the young workers were of UK political situation.

The first workshop was “For a fairer society”. This looked at issues involving fairer pay, equal opportunities, career progressions and more.


I spoke about the UK minimum wage rates, which means that simply due to age, those under 23 are on a lower minimum wage compared to older workers. For other countries, this is not the case and there is a base rate for all workers. It was interesting to learn how other countries are leading the way in particular around equal pay. However, there is still improvement required around equal opportunities and career progression.

The next workshop looked at how we can organise more effectively. A major issue that came across from all groups was how we can access young workers to organise them. It is clear that we need more reps on the ground and in the workplace. However, we recognised that this is not always possible. Barriers can include not being able to get release from work, companies stopping unions from accessing worksites and for some, like the UK government policies. This workshop was particularly helpful given that UK unions are losing our aging workforce which is reducing our numbers of reps in workplaces.

General Secretary of CFDT (Marylise Leon) was a guest speaker at the event, painting a vision for the future for the federation and tackled many of the concerns that the French Young Worker had highlighted as barriers.


I know that sometimes it can feel as that things are only happening to you and that you’re tackling problems alone. But you’re not, there are young workers around the world that fighting for a better workplace and better lives. The TUC will continue to build campaigns with young workers across Europe.

The TUC also has a range of resources and point of contact for any additional support you need.

I had an amazing time and learnt loads from my fellow reps which I will take back to our TUC National Young Workers Forum to discuss how we can share that knowledge.

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