Skip to main content

Big win for young workers: New Zealand’s RMTU votes to include youth at every level

news 21 Oct 2022

21 OCTOBER 2022 – This week at the Rail & Maritime Transport Union’s (RMTU) congress in New Zealand, delegates voted in favour of a resolution to have youth representation on the executive committee of all branch levels across the country by 2023. The measure passed with unanimous support from the floor.  

“This a big win for young workers, youth delegates and our union as a whole,” said Jas Giri, a member of the RMTU’s National Management Committee (Auckland Rail Representative), who is also the youth representative for the Urban Transport Sector on the ITF’s global youth committee.  

“Our next steps will be to build youth councils nationwide to support the ongoing recruitment and development of new youth representatives in order to have strong structures that can progress the views of young workers,” added Giri. “We are looking forward to adding a regular youth conference as part of our governance cycle.” 

Baker Khundakji, ITF Young Transport Workers Officer today congratulated the RMTU on their commitment to meaningfully involve youth in every level of their union: “Opening spaces for young workers is exactly what we need to do as a first step in order to grow our unions and our collective power as a global labour movement.” 

At the 2018 ITF Congress in Singapore, affiliates adopted Resolution 20, which calls on all unions to commit to creating and growing dedicated youth structures, among other measures to increase the participation of young workers.  

“The RMTU is helping to make the vision of youth empowerment which is spelled out in Resolution 20 into a reality,” added Khundakji. “We look forward to more unions making significant commitments like this and supporting them through these processes.” 

If you are interested in learning more about youth structures and how your union can build them, send an email to  


Resolution 20: Protecting Young Seafarers’ and Dockers’ Rights 

The 44th Congress of the ITF, meeting in Singapore from 14-20 October 2018 approved Resolution 20: Protecting Young Seafarers’ and Dockers’ Rights. It was also agreed that the resolution would apply to all sections within the ITF. 

1. Acknowledges the young transport workers as the present and future leaders of the ITF; 

2. Acknowledges the progress which has been made in increasing the participation of young transport workers in the work of the ITF; 

3. Affirms that young workers need unions to back the fight for secure and decent work; 

4. Notes that having proper young transport workers structures set up in the regions would be important and beneficial in addressing concerns on protecting young seafarers’ and dockers’ rights; 

5. Calls on to promote close relations among affiliate trade unions in their efforts to establish professional networks, negotiating platforms and common projects in order to ensure equal rights and working conditions for young seafarers and dock workers during their first job onboard; 

6. Calls on to promote training and development onboard, at ports and at maritime colleges and universities, to support and to facilitate establishment and development of training and educational facilities for seafarers, port workers in close collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), and to encourage effective implementation of ILO instruments and training materials; 

7. Calls on to promote the fair treatment of young seafarers, high quality of their working conditions, minimum wages and rights protection on all ships irrespective of flag; 

8. Calls on to ensure that all young seafarers and dockers regardless of gender, nationality, race or colour, age, sexual orientation, disability or beliefs are protected from exploitation by their employers and those acting on their behalf; 

9. Calls on the ITF to promote all affiliates to create youth structures in order to increase young transport workers activities; 

10. Calls on the ITF in liaison with its affiliates to support young transport workers in organising activities and focusing on organising the young transport workers in all the affiliated unions in a more structured manner; 

11. Calls on to continue to map membership statistics in terms of young transport workers members and grow the global young transport workers network; 

12. Calls on to ensure the crucial link between the work taking place through ITF headquarters with the regional priority work and supporting young transport workers' involvement regionally