Let’s change us! Organise young people

The 13th meeting of the central european young trade unionist network (CEYTUN) from 31st January to 2nd February 2020 in Vienna was devoted to the topic: “Let’s change us! Organise young people.”

As young trade unionists, the members of CEYTUN are aware of the necessity to find new and young members for trade unions to build active, strong and sustainable organisations for the future. Trade unions´ membership is continuously decreasing and meanwhile new forms of work require intensifying and developing new organising strategies. The meeting started with a mapping of the current state of organising in the region of CEYTUN to share knowledge and experience from the six different countries. In most of the countries, the organizing strategies are not targeted on young people. In Austria and Germany trade unions are addressing separate interests and needs of young people (e. g. providing advice to students at universities and secondary schools about internships and small job contracts).

According to the experience of the individual countries, the best results in organizing were brought by the segmentation of potential members, addressing their respective needs, devoting resources, holding campaigns. Organizing at cultural, sport and informal events works well. An important support for organizing is surveying, mapping, networking, group bounding, idea sharing and discussions. Other beneficial factors are media presence, demonstrations and meetings of trade unions.

The Austrian colleagues introduced best practices of their organising strategies and presented Face to face - First contact organising. The recruitment of young people to trade unions can take place not only in the workplace, but also in stores, social events or bars. Subsequently young trade unionists focused on specific tools that can be used to address young people and organise new members of trade unions. They attended workshops on social media, argumentation on the workplace (small talk) and organizing people in the platform economy.               

Looking ahead, the ceytuners discussed how they could implement new strategies of organizing and made concrete plans for the work in their unions. They want to increase knowledge about trade unions in the young generation, increase social media presence of trade unions and be more active in public events. They all agreed that more trained organizers among young trade unionists are needed.

The group of CEYTUN members is gradually rejuvenating; a significant amount of new members came to the meeting. The participants highlighted the similarity of the problems young people in trade unions face when recruiting new young members and also the diversity of forms of attracting attention and interest of young people as a source of inspiration for all.

CEYTUN consists of young trade unionists from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. CEYTUN was created in 2012 with the objective to promote the exchange between young trade unions members in Central Europe and to address common challenges together by building mutual trust across borders.

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