This year, UNI Youth is celebrating International Youth Day by launching their new “UNI Yeah!” website, which will amplify the voice of young workers across the world – showcasing their work, their voices and the issues that matter to young people. The Covid-19 crisis has served to underline and exacerbate many of the big issues young people are facing today. Issues such as precarious work, the right to disconnect and mental health have become even more pronounced.
“The UNI Yeah! Campaign aims to increase the visibility of youth issues by sharing stories, campaigns, and activities from young workers, and emphasizing the importance of their work for the trade union movement,” said UNI Youth Director Marta Ochoa. “At a time of global crisis, we need to hear young people’s voices more than ever. UNI Yeah! is designed to give young workers a space and opportunity to make their voices heard.”
“The answer to many of the challenges facing young people is clear – organize,” said UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary Alke Boessiger. “Joining or forming a trade union with strong collective bargaining rights is the strongest tool we have at our disposal to ensure that youth get a fair deal at work.”
“With strong trade unions, we can address the most devastating aspects of precarious work and particularly during and in the aftermath of the pandemic, ensure that young workers have the right support for mental health issues and are afforded the right to disconnect.”
Over the past few months, UNI Youth has run a series of webinars designed to address some of the biggest issues facing young workers.
Precarious work, which has been growing at an alarming rate worldwide, is just one of the issues which has been exacerbated by the crisis. With no sick pay, access to PPE or social security, precarious young workers have been facing a stark choice – go to work and potentially get sick, or stay home and lose their jobs. In the webinar, UNI Youth members from all over the world strategised on how unions can fight the most negative impacts of precarious work.
Right to disconnect
As countries all over the world imposed lockdowns and social distancing measures, millions of workers have been forced to work from home. The crisis has disrupted lives and changed the way we work—eroding the boundaries between work and personal time. The right to disconnect has never been more important, and UNI Youth wants to lead the charge to make sure that workers are protected from anxiety, depression and burnout. In the UNI Youth webinar on the consequences of the sudden switch to remote working and the right to disconnect, participants talked about how to ensure young workers are able to switch off when working from home.
The Covid-19 crisis has also had a severe impact on mental health. Fear of contracting coronavirus, losing your job, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children and social isolation are all stress factors that are burdening workers. In the webinar on mental health, UNI Youth and experts from the WHO discussed how unions can protect and support the mental health and well-being of young workers.
To find out more about the UNI Yeah! campaign, please visit http://en.uniyeah.org/.