BWI young unionists: Neoliberalism is a failure

BWI’s International Youth Committee (IYC) had its 3rd statutory meeting online on 18 March. The committee agreed to push for immediate policies that will pave the way for the just transformation of employment, wages, politics and gender relations, and transition to climate-friendly industries. The young trade unionists expressed the urgent need to take action to build a future which will provide fair and equal standards for all. 

The young trade unionists, representing BWI’s five regions, all agreed that young people worldwide are one of the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic, with the youth comprising a big bulk of the rising number of unemployed workers. They asserted that there should be a shift from today’s failed neoliberal policies to a more human-centred and equitable social system. 

The IYC also took serious note of the increasing attacks on workers’ rights and democracy. BWI’s young leaders recognised that young activists, despite the state violence unleashed against them, are in the forefront in the fight for democracy in Belarus, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Chile and many other countries.  

“Recent developments have shown that neoliberal policies have totally failed, while authoritarian capitalism keeps on attacking human rights. It’s time for young people to build a new and better world for all,” BWI IYC Chair Lebohang Ramabolu remarked. 

The meeting observed a moment of silence to honour all the workers who lost their lives to COVID-19 and other work-related accidents and illnesses. The IYC said that occupational health and safety is a major concern among young workers, especially in the time of a pandemic. 

As a response, the committee presented the first draft of the “BWI Youth Agenda, Policy and Strategic Paper,” which it hopes to become a fundamental guide to BWI’s future youth activities leading to the World Congress in 2022 and beyond.

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, who was invited to join the meeting, said that the pandemic should not hinder unions and their young members in fighting for a better future. “We are all witnesses to the unstoppable force created by young people in the defence of their rights and future.”