12 August - International Youth Day 2017 | National Union of Public and General Employees

12 August - International Youth Day 2017

Public Services International, a Global Union Federation, is recognizing the contribution's of the world's young people and urging support for young workers.

Geneva (10 Aug. 2017) — This year International Youth Day, August 12, is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. The current generation of youth is the largest in history and young people often comprise the majority in countries marked by armed conflict or unrest, therefore considering the needs and aspirations of youth in matters of peace and security is a demographic imperative.

Public Services International (PSI), a Global Union Federation which the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is a member of, is recognizing the contribution's of the world's young people and urging support for young workers

Must promote the social inclusion of young people

As the United Nations reminds us: “The 2030 Agenda affirms that “sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security”. The process of social inclusion for youth, including participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care and basic services, promotes their role as active contributors to society and provides young people with opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals. When youth are excluded from political, economic and social spheres and processes, it can be a risk factor for violence and violent forms of conflict. Therefore, identifying and addressing the social exclusion of young people is a precondition for sustaining peace.”

Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, says: “Decent jobs for young people, access to free quality public education, healthcare and inclusive policies are the key to building and sustaining peace. Ensuring young workers can organise in a union, mobilise for their rights, bargain collectively and have the right to strike is essential for them to defend their rights and their future, and reduce the potential of violence that is often a reaction to the denial of these fundamental rights to address growing inequality and restore social justice.”

Young workers suffering in global economy

Since the 1980s, the world has experienced an era of jobless growth, to the enormous detriment of young workers. Finding a job with security and decent wages is difficult all over the world, and for many young workers the prospect of rising living standards is limited. Global economic growth in the last two decades has yielded benefits that are grossly unevenly shared through an unprecedented widening of income inequality. Most jobs created in the last two to three decades are short-term, part-time, temporary, casual or informal, and largely precarious. For young workers, these low-protected, low-paid jobs are often the only option leading to job insecurity, life uncertainty and a future of poor pensions insufficient to ensure dignity and autonomy in old age.

In addition, the increasing privatisation of the education system, particularly in the global south, restricts access to education and skills formation that lead to decent work, with young women workers disproportionately affected. But education is not just about skills formation, above all it is about preparing future generations of citizens and providing the civil values and principles for coexistence in our communities to ensure socially stable democratic societies, devoted to peaceful and sustainable development. This is a responsibility of governments that cannot be delegated to private providers.

Confronted by global crises

Pavanelli continues: “Humanity is facing different kinds of crises — natural and man-made disasters. What is required is a redefinition of the predominant model of production and consumption. We must give back to the state and public services their role in supporting our communities, and ensure that young workers and trade unions can participate fully in all steps of this process. Young workers are the drivers of this much-needed change.”

In terms of the Transition from War to Peace and ensuring Employment and Decent Work for peace and resilience, PSI also calls for the necessary tools and training for emergency workers so that they may better perform their prevention, rescue and rebuilding functions, without unnecessary risks to their own health and safety. Young people cannot prevent conflicts alone; without strong and democratic institutions to defend peace and social justice, the law of the strongest will always prevail. 

PSI calls on all its affiliates to stand up for the rights of young workers! We cannot accept a future with worsening working and living conditions. We want inclusive and equitable societies that offer opportunities for all! Sustainable peace means nothing without decent work, strong public services and social justice for workers!


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE


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