BKDP National Youth Seminar

4-5 December 2010, Kryzhovka

During national youth seminar participants discussed the information and issues brought up in youth exchange in June 2010 in Turkey. 

The seminar started with getting to know each other. We gathered representatives from 3 trade unions – BKDP affiliates (SPM, SPB, NPG), so participants told about their trade unions and young people in them.

After that we discussed current problems of young people to see what issues should trade unions keep in mind.

In the presentation of youth exchange in Turkey participants told about the programme of the exchange, what had been discussed with other participants from the Netherlands, Brazil and Turkey, and what did they learn about young people and trade unions from other countries.

After that, it was suggested to discuss the following questions, and almost at all statements group divided in two parts, so there always were opposite opinions and arguments to strengthen each position:

If young people are interested in trade unions nowadays – the group spit in two halves – some were giving example of themselves who are interested, but some people mentioned the common image of trade unions among people of mature men striking for the rights. In the end the group agreed that young people are mostly interested in trade unions but they lack information on trade unions in general and how they can help young people to solve the problem.

Are young people the only ones who are capable to organize young people.

To be a leader it is essential to have training and experience. Part of the group considered this to be main must-haves of leader, their opponents talked about other qualities/competences, that may make person a leader (e.g. charisma)

During the discussion of the last issue we came up to take one more statement – if young people are able to solve their problems themselves. Here some participants told that to solve any problems trade union leaders’ participation is needed, in the other hand, other told that young people can solve some problems themselves (e.g. organizing free time, leisure time events, etc.)

Then participants discussed one more statement (first in small groups, and then to share opinion of the group with the others):

Young people nowadays are individualistic. We have to convince them as members through a focus on individual interests and individual services. Terms such as collective interests and solidarity are old fashioned and will only scare young people

The group discussed that firstly trade unions should focus on collective interests, although should treat each member with his/her problems attentively. Trade unions should emphasize that solution of common problems is addressing members’ needs as individuals.

Afterwards there was brainstorming session on the reasons why young people don’t want to become trade union members. Then with ranking (each participant had 3 votes) we have decided upon main reasons, among them:

  • Young people don’t have enough information

  • Young people don’t believe that the problems can be solved in general
  • Young people are afraid of repressions from administration side

  • Young people are generally indifferent (not interested in anything)

Then we discussed how we can attract young people to trade unions taking in account the reasons we stated before. Participants in small groups discussed arguments to address each of main reasons.

On the second day (Sun, 5 Dec) we planned future activities of youth network: statement of BKDP youth movement, communication strategies, and possible activities.

In communication strategies we have discussed how we can use social networks and decided upon content of youth bulletin. In the end we composed plan of further steps and responsibilities and how we communicate to each other.

About Young Union Activists

Young Union Activists met each other at the Young Workers Gathering 2010 in Turkey, and decided to stay in touch to inform and support each other about their union struggles.
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