According to the latest statistics from the ONS, workers between the ages of 16-24 make up 36% of zero-hour contracts. That means many young workers are not guaranteed the basic rights at work that a lot of people take for granted such as paid holiday, sick leave and maternity/paternity leave.
With youth unemployment at 624,000 more needs to be done to get young people into work. However with a significant level of young workers in zero hour contracts and an average wage for young workers being £6,700 less then the average salary of all workers (£27,600), this is where trade unions need to come in. Workers that are members of Trade Unions get 14.1% more on average than non-unionised workers. Indeed a young worker we spoke to said this about how their union helped them in the workplace.
Paul Valentine, Equity Branch Secretary and Young Greens executive member, said: “Unions are vital in the workplace. My union, Equity, actively campaigns for equality and diversity, and has had great success in getting Young Workers like myself onto contracts, when previously we would have been unpaid. Our ‘Professionally Made, Professionally Made’ campaign has been vital in securing us wages in an ever squeezed arts sector. ”
As part of young workers month, the Green Party Trade Union Group are doing our bit to encourage young people to join trade unions. Only 585,000 young workers out of 3.9 million are members of a trade union, so this is a very important campaign. With the Tory government renewing their attack on workers with the pernicious Trade Union bill now being enforced, the importance of collectively standing up for our rights at work has never been more important.
So as part of our campaign we are asking people to send a photo of themselves with a sheet of paper having written down why they believe unions are important for young workers with the hashtag #YWM16 as we will be sharing this on social media. If you’d like to take part, send us your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @GreenPartyTU.
NB: All the figures above can be found at www.gov.uk and www.ons.gov.uk