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Young Workers Month

Held in November every year, TUC Young Workers Month promotes trade unions to young workers and shows how unions are relevant to their lives at work and beyond.

It is an opportunity for unions to campaign on the most important issues for young workers, give a platform to their organising activities and demonstrate the value that young members bring to the trade union movement.

Unions can use the resources and information below to help plan activities for November 2021.

If you're planning events and activities throughout the month, let us know. Share them with us on Twitter, @tucyoungworkers, using the hashtag #YoungWorkersMonth or email Jay McKenna - jmckenna@tuc.org.uk

Young workers

Young Workers Month 2021

In 2021, we've seen how important our key workers are and how undervalued they can be. And we've saw young workers hit hardest by the pandemic. Whether through rising unemployment or because they work in sectors of the economy hit hard by lockdown and furlough their job prospects and pay have been hit. Lockdowns and working from home have changed how we live of our lives. There are so many issues where the experiences of young workers need to be heard. That's why during the month, we've got events and activities taking place to hear the voice of young people. 

Read our blog from Young Workers Forum chair, Alex Graham:

Young workers aren’t just the future of the Trade Union movement - we are the Trade Union Movement


Priority campaign issues

The Young Workers Forum have committed to ongoing priority campaigns around organising young workers and young workers and mental health. 

Our movement needs to grow if we are to continue to be one that can change the world of work. To do that, we need to find ways to increase the numbers of young members in our trade unions and to find the next generation of union reps and activists to represent members in the workplace. Without them, we won't be able to win the changes we want.

A mental health crisis is gripping our workplaces. Unhealthy working practices, low pay, insecure work, bullying and a lack of control – young people’s experience of work is increasingly causing poor mental health. Unions must hold employers to account – to reduce stress, improve terms and conditions, and support young workers with their mental health at work.


Events

During the month, we want to run a series of listening events and roundtables, to hear from young workers and trade unionists on a range of issues. Register for these below and share with friends, colleagues and your networks. 

Climate change and a Just Transition – what’s the future for young workers?

Thursday 4th November, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

With the planet ours to inherit, what will it look like? As young people, we’ve got the most to gain, or lose, from climate change. So too have workers. So how can we get the change we want that is fair and just? What are the issues? What is the role of trade unions?

Join us and other young people, with guest speakers (tbc) to hear what the big issues are, what unions are doing and help shape and influence what we do next.

Register

Can’t afford it, can’t get on – young people in work need better jobs and pay

Wednesday 17th November, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

In Living Wage week as a new Real Living Wage rate will be announced, join us to discuss the realities of low pay and no progression, issues that are all too common for young people at work. With young people more likely to work in parts of the economy that are low paying, how can we win the pay improvements we need? How do we get a minimum wage that doesn’t differ by age? And what are the job prospects for young people to get on at work?

Register

This ends now – how we stop harassment and violence against women

Thursday 25th November, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Please note, this event is for women and non binary colleagues and is a transgender safe space.

On UN International Day for Ending Violence against Women and Girls, join us to discuss how we put a stop to violence women in this country face. Whether at work, at home or in their communities, too many women tell us their stories of harassment and the violence it leads to. What are trade unions doing to make workplaces safer? What changes must we expect so we can feel safer?

Register

#Organise – getting young workers into unions and active

Tuesday 30th November, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Trade unions can change the world of work for good. And we know we need to. All young workers month, we’ve listened and discussed the big challenges we face and what is needed.

But unions can only take up this fight if we’re growing and we’re strong. Unions need young workers and young workers need unions. Join us as we set out the scale of the challenge but share optimism for how we can and must react. Share your thoughts and let’s help shape the present and the future of our movement.

Register


Reports

More young workers lost their jobs during summer 2020 than in all of 2019

More young workers were made redundant during summer 2020 than in all of 2019, according to TUC analysis. The analysis shows that 59,000 workers aged 16 to 24 lost their jobs in July to September this year, compared to 56,000 across all of 2019.

Young workers hit hard but young BME workers hit harder by unemployment

The pandemic has hit young workers hard. Youth unemployment is rising and almost two-thirds of those who have lost jobs since the start of the pandemic are young workers. Youth unemployment is particularly impacting young black and minority ethnic (BME) people. During the pandemic, the unemployment rate for BME young workers has increased more than twice as fast as the unemployment rate for young white workers.


Resources

How to use webinars to reach workers and win change
This short blog gives some practical examples of how we can use webinars during these new ways of working. 

Talking mental health - webinar for reps
This webinar looks at the practical ways for union reps to promote good mental health in the workplace and offer support to workers who may be experiencing a mental health issue.

Getting by and getting on - A guide for reps about issues affecting young workers
A briefing for reps and officers to help bargain and campaign on issues that impact young workers.

My Union, My Voice - inspiring stories from young trade union reps
This booklet tells the inspiring stories of young workers who not only joined a union, but joined in too.


Research

Young workers are most at risk from job losses due to the coronavirus crisis
This report shows that young workers (aged 25 and under) face the highest risk of unemployment due to the coronavirus and calls for action to tackle any surge in youth unemployment. 

"I feel like I can't change anything"- Britain’s young core workers speak out about work (PDF)
This report takes a deeper look at the labour market trends affecting Britain’s young core workers and sets out the findings from our user-led research with young core workers.

Living for the Weekend - Understanding Britain’s young core workers (PDF)
Britain’s young core workers are at the sharpest end of the UK economy – and have the most to gain from trade union membership. Yet fewer than ten per cent are union members. This report sets the characteristics of young core workers, perspectives on their experience of the workplace, and the key challenges they face at work. It also attempts to dig deeper – looking at their attitudes and values towards work and society.


Blogs

Young workers

What's life like for young health and safety reps?

Young workers tell us why they got active in their union as the health and safety rep and the difference they're making in the workplace for them and their colleagues. 

Stress

How to resist the 'resilience' narrative - and organise for less stressful work

Shelly Asquith is TUC Health and Safety policy officer. She tells us how training workers to deal with stress is not the answer we need in workplaces, and how trade unions are the best route to change.

Talking

Mental health at work – time to tackle workplace stress and discrimination 

Too many workers are facing mental ill health due to poor treatment and conditions at work

 

 

Raise the wage

Organising for the future - how young trade unionists are leading the way

TUC Yorkshire and the Humber region have developed the Summer Patrol, an exciting new initiative to engage young workers. The project sent groups of young trade unionists from Yorkshire and Norway into workplaces across Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley. It helped us to connect with young workers in a different way, giving them a positive introduction to trade unions.

Young workers

To reach young workers, trade unionists need to step outside their comfort zone

Clare Coatman manages the TUC’s programme to reach younger workers. She tells her own story of exploitation at work and how that spurred her to join a union and make a difference.

 


TUC Library Exhibition 

Young workers exhibition

Young Workers and Unions - Agents for Change

Low pay, zero hours contracts, harassment and bullying in the workplace. Young workers have often been at the sharp end of bad working practices and most in need of support from trade unions.

This exhibition demonstrates the vulnerability of young workers through the last two hundred years and how they often took the lead to challenge these abuses and fight for change through their unions. It is based on the contents of the TUC Library at London Metropolitan University, using its printed, manuscript and visual resources to explore the history and role of young workers and trade unions. You can see the exhibiton here.

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