european trade union institute


Organising young workers in the public sector
for trade union renewal
8 – 10 June 2012, La Roche (Belgium)

The Education Department of the European Trade Union Institute organised a joint seminar with the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) on Organising young workers in the public sector for trade union renewal which was held from 8 to 10 June 2012 in La Roche-en-Ardenne, Belgium.
The The aims of the activity were to

  • Raise awareness of the role of a European trade union in the social dialogue as well as help understanding the role of the European decision making in national youth policies in the public sector.
  • Study different initiatives of recruiting and training at national level to support the joint efforts of trade union revival in the whole of the European public sector trade unions.
  • Discuss about the role of young and precarious workers in the public sector and what proposals can be constructed to help the trade unions in the crisis management so young workers are not the losers of such a situation.
  • Provide participants with a practical knowledge and understanding of the functioning of a European trade union federation and the whole of the EU decision making process.
  • Foster capacity building to improve the training and recruiting drives in the different national countries.

After a presentation round of the participants and their respective trade unions, Nick Clark from the London Metropolitan University gave an overview of Youth unemployment and precarious employment forms in Public Sector Activities in Europe. Among his main findings:
  • with some exception young workers are clearly underrepresented in public sector employment
  • young workers having found a job in the public sector are more often employed under precarious conditions
  • public authorities do not devote sufficient resources to train young workers to qualify them for jobs in the public sector
  • youth unemployement is on average  twice or three times higher as for other groups on the labour market
  • a higher level of employment protection laws doesn't imply a higher level of youth unemployment
(download the presentation of Nick Clark from the "Document" section of this Web site
The overview was completed by national presentations
  • Elina DABOLA presented the situation in Latvia
  • Florian Octavian Popa introduced the activities of his union in Romania
  • Terezie Pisarova talked about the activities in the Czech Republic
  • Ola Haral Svenning explained how the Norwegian union Fagforbundet tries to improve the conditions for unemployed young workers

In working groups the participants exchanged their national experiences about youth (un)employment, precarious contracts and trade union actions to improve employment conditions for young workers in the public sector. They also discussed recruitment and organising strategies of their various trade union aiming at give young workers their fair share of influence in trade union decision making bodies.

During the final part of the seminar the discussion focused on possible future activities and objectives of the EPSU Youth Network

Some links

EPSU - European Public Service Unions
ETUI: European Trade Union Institute
National industrial relations in Europe
The Water Campaign
European Commission: Youth programme
European Trade Union Confederation: Youth employment