Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/350/5804
Wanted - young union activists!
WITHIN THE last two years, there has been a big increase in new members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) under the age of 27. The union's Left Unity-led Executive has made improving the participation of young members a priority and set up a national database of 25,000 young members.
Bernie Lyons, PCS DTLR Bristol and South West branch
A PCS survey of our young members last November lent no credence to New Labour's wishful thinking that young people today are 'not political'.
Over 2,000 people responded to the survey; over 1,000 of them said they would like to become more involved in union activity. Over 800 said they'd be interested in taking part in a national youth conference. The vast majority of respondents currently play no active role in the union at all, showing the potential to develop future union activists.
Many young members were interested in forging links with other organisations who share an interest in common campaigns, including schools and universities, political organisations and young people from other trade unions.
At the top of the list of workplace campaigns was the issue of equal pay for all workers, followed closely by job security, a living pension and opportunities for promotion and career development.
This interest in becoming more involved did not stop at workplace campaigns. Young members also want to organise and campaign around wider issues and in the community.
Locally based meetings of young PCS members are being organised. Some have met already, many stimulated by the recent strikes, and show promising signs of being a starting point for building a National Young Members Conference, hopefully in 2005.
Young members represent our union's future - we must strengthen the work we've started to build an active young membership within PCS. The previous right-wing leadership of CPSA and then PCS neglected this area of work.
The problems our young members face (see box, left) are just some of the concerns taken up by the young workers' charter, shortly to be launched by International Socialist Resistance (ISR).
In The Socialist 5 June 2004:
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news