Why everyone should back Young Workers Week

helen ym2I’m the PCS National Executive Committee (NEC) Liaison Officer for the Young Members Network. As a former Chair of the National Young Members Committee, I know that Young Workers Week is a vital opportunity to promote involvement of young members in union activity and to carry out important campaigning work on issues affecting young people in our workplaces and beyond.

PCS has an excellent record with its young members, proudly winning the youth TUC award for four years in a row. We’ve also recently had success in building action to campaign on youth issues across the trade union movement. For the first time, the PCS young workers week coincides with young members activity with the GMB and SERTUC. There will also be the first ever TUC Young Workers Week in 2014, thanks to work our union have been doing on the TUC Youth Committee.

PCS has just undergone the largest consultation exercise in the union’s history. It’s clear that whilst there is a determined mood to continue fighting for better pay, pensions, job security and in defence of our terms and conditions that we need to consider doing things differently. Young members have a key role to play in this, taking this campaign forward in the future and leading in the workplace. Not least because young workers will be hit hard by the attacks on the civil service, as a young(ish) worker I can’t envisage a decent pay rise and will need to work till at least 68 before I retire, if I’m lucky. It’s more likely that younger workers will join the civil service on poorer conditions and with little job security – unless we win the concessions badly needed through taking further industrial action.

Along with pushing for coordinated strike action with other unions, building a levy and identifying areas for targeted action, we also need to organise protest and campaigning activity that can be led by young members and coordinated by the young member’s network. Young workers week is our opportunity to get young people engaged and active in our union, building not just the national campaign but the future of our union. If activity hasn’t been organised for this week in your area, why not contact youngmembers@pcs.org.uk?

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