As delivered to Community’s Biennial Delegate Conference in Belfast on May 31st 2022.
Conference, I am proud to represent young workers on the NEC.
The past three years have highlighted why trade unions have never been more important to young people. As a group, the work we take on means we are more vulnerable than other groups, and we need someone in our corner.
Young people are most likely to experience unemployment, underemployment, low wages, casual and temporary work, zero-hours contracts and workplace exploitation.
And yet, young people are significantly less likely to be trade union members. Currently, only 4.7% of young people are trade union members.
If things keep going the way they are going, we will see a gradual decline in the size of the union movement, and with that, all of us will lose the option to have a strong collective voice at work. It would also mean the collective voice of workers across the UK are less likely to be considered by the government and employers.
Young people deserve a great job just as much as anyone else. A job where you; are paid well, treated fairly, get opportunities to progress, have your voices heard, and your rights upheld.
Young workers tell us it is hard to speak up at work, whether that is getting your work recognised or challenging unfair treatment, THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE, and Community MUST lead that change.
We must stand together with young workers now to better our futures, our quality of life, and the lives of our families.
Let us not settle for less in the workplace. Ensure that ourselves, and our colleagues, are treated fairly. We need to push for greater equality and protection in the workplace. We can only achieve this with the strength of the collective that comes from a trade union.
It is with our members that the strength of trade unionism truly lies.
Conference let’s make Community the strongest advocate and best trade union possible for young workers.