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International Youth Day 2023: Young workers call to organise for a just and sustainable world

12 Aug 2023

12 August 2023, London – This International Youth Day (IYD) is an opportunity to reflect on the state of the world we are leaving to our future generations. In this era defined by intersecting global crises – environmental, economic, social and military conflicts – we must do everything in our power to secure a more just and sustainable world. 

Young people themselves are leading this fight for a fair future,” said ITF Young Transport Workers’ Officer Baker Khundakji. “The simple truth about our future is that unions need young workers and young workers need unions. To ensure young workers full inclusion and participation, we need to create space for young workers at every level of our unions. Solidarity is the fundamental principle that guides our work and our vision for a society in which no one gets left behind. 

As announced by the United Nations the theme for IYD 2023 is “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World.” 

If we are to build a more sustainable world, workers and their unions must play a central role in the transition to a new economy,” said Dorotea Zec, co-chair of the ITF Young Transport Workers' Committee. Green jobs require new skills and training, which must be made freely available to young people irrespective of their financial means, gender, sexuality, disability, faith, race, ethnicity, or country of origin.”  

"As part of our advocacy work in partnership with young transport workers, today we launch the result of a global research report on the state of youth employment, said Khundakji. The report entitled Young Workers in Transport: Decent Work, Just Transition and Union Rights is available in English, French and Spanish.  

Key recommendations for unions, employers and governments include:  

  • Providing targeted learning and education activities to ensure young workers are fully aware of their rights. 

  • Focusing on the key issues that are relevant to young people, such as climate change, just transition, digitalisation and work in the gig economy. 

  • Centring ongoing training and reskilling as a key tool that will help to prepare workers for working in the context of climate change and just transition. 

  • Promoting collective bargaining and collective agreements as a pathway to improving working conditions for young workers, including the provision of genuine apprenticeship opportunities. 

  • Addressing gaps in data by promoting further research on the realities of young workers, including from a regional perspective, and the experiences of migrant workers, disabled workers and the LGBTQ+ community. 

Young people will be the ones to suffer the repercussions of the policies that are adopted today, more than any other group of workers. For the sake of our planet and collective futures, governments and employers must take decisive action. Huge changes are necessary to make the transport industry sustainable. But change can only happen with the active involvement of transport workers in all key decisions. We as young trade unionists will continue to organise locally, nationally, regionally and internationally to ensure our voices are heard,said Horacio Calculli, co-chair of the ITF Young Transport Workers' Committee.