Protect young workers’ right to strike
When you’re just starting out in a career, the idea you might one day be going out on strike is hardly likely to cross your mind. The right to strike is a last resort, and one you often don’t think about unless you need it. But young workers will be amongst those with the most to lose from the threats to the right to strike that can be found in the government’s new trade union bill.
This November will be the TUC’s third annual young workers month, a month of activities and events focused on young workers and the issues that matter to them. This year, the month coincides with this dangerous bill reaching its final stages in the House of Commons.
The right to strike is vitally important for younger workers who have everything to gain from fighting for better terms and conditions. Young people experience some of the most difficult working conditions. They are often in jobs that are low paid and insecure; a large number of younger workers are based in retail, hospitality and other low-paying sectors which typically employ staff on zero hours contracts.
Instead of protecting young workers the Government has introduced a ‘National Living Wage’ which excludes workers under 25, and made no attempt to limit the excessive use of zero hour contracts by employers such as Sports Direct.
It is trade unions who are fighting young workers’ corner, the Bakers’ union took strike action at a food factory in Wigan which saw young workers on temporary contracts given permanent contracts. Unite the union took action against Pizza Express who were stealing staff’s tips; the union won and now the – predominantly young- workers take home 100% of the tips they earn. BECTU helped young workers in the cinema industry win living wages and USDAW took action at TESCO to make sure young workers were paid the same rate as their older colleagues.
Statistics show that where young people (aged between 16 and 24) are in a union they are 38% better paid, however, now the trade union bill looks set to restrict the ability of unions to negotiate on an equal playing field with employers and fight for improvements young workers so desperately need.
This young workers month the TUC has been speaking to young workers about what they think of the trade union bill and the importance of the right to strike. Tell us what you think using the hashtag #ywm15, and join the campaign now to help protect the right to strike for all of us.
How you can support #YWM15:
– Download and display the official #YWM15 Twibbon on your facebook and twitter profile
– Tweet a message of support using #YWM15
– Download and display the official TUC Young Workers Month Poster
– Share our ‘Young Workers Support the Right to Strike’ social media graphics
– Share our booklet containing quotes from young workers, including the Chair of the forum on their views about the right to strike
– Watch and share videos of young workers Emma and Alice talking about their experience of taking strike action and why they want to defend the right to strike