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World Day for Decent Work 2020: Raising youth voices

07 Oct 2020

On the World Day for Decent Work, young transport workers are speaking out about the urgent need to confront youth unemployment and job insecurity. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on young workers’ employment, incomes, training, and social protection have been catastrophic, and today young transport workers are raising their voices to demand that global economic recovery efforts prioritise youth.

Young workers have experienced staggering job losses and cuts to pay and conditions during the pandemic, and more than 70 per cent of youth have faced disruptions to their education and training. 

The employment outlook for young workers was already precarious before the Covid-19 crisis. The ILO’s pre-Covid-19 global labour market overview showed that only 41 per cent of the global youth population were included in the labour force and that 30 per cent of employed youth remained in extreme or moderate poverty. The most recent ILO monitoring report shows that one in six young workers have stopped working since the pandemic, while 42 per cent of those still in employment have seen their incomes reduced. 

Covid-19 has further illuminated the critical vulnerabilities of the youth workforce, increasingly engaged in underpaid and under-protected jobs due to precarious employment relationships, hazardous living conditions, unsafe workplaces, and discrimination.

This year’s World Day for Decent Work offers an opportunity for us to unite together as a global trade union movement. The rights of workers are under threat across the world in a time when governments should be doing everything in their power to support workers. Unions in many countries are fighting against privatisation efforts, anti-worker legislation and negligent oversight that has allowed employers to exploit this crisis for their own benefit. 

During our recent Young Aviation Workers’ Summer School, union activists denounced the shameful behaviour of UK flag carrier British Airways, who threatened to fire their entire workforce and rehire them under significantly worse working conditions, before backtracking due to a union-led public pressure campaign. Young workers are particularly vulnerable to these attacks due to the relatively short length of their tenure and their overrepresentation in precarious employment contracts. 

We insist that young workers must not be left behind. Today we call on all young workers to demand that governments and employers act to protect the futures of young workers and generations to come. With the right support, youth can be catalysts for a global economic recovery.

Join us in calling for global action to create and protect quality job opportunities for youth and all workers. This is trade union business.

For latest updates make sure to check out our social media channels and share your own updates with hashtags #WDDW #DecentWork #COVID19.

Related links:

Young transport workers demand urgent intervention

Young aviation workers organising for a post-Covid-19 future

Young transport workers mark International Youth Day 2020