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Some thoughts/observations

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Some thoughts/observations

Posted by Uma Sarkar at December 07. 2009

Dear Friends,

Greetings from New Delhi.  It is great to be in touch again with all of you and to observe the active and lively discussion and many good ideas. I also want to take this opportunity to say hello to all of you who had written to me when I left Bangkok (apologies for not writing sooner!) as I have now moved to India and dealing with Education for UNICEF.  I do look forward to continue to be part of our APYN family and to see it grow and become stronger.

I wish I could have followed this discussion sooner but I have been on a fair amount of travel within India for work.  There is much I could comment on with regards to issues raised by all members but considering the forum will close shortly there were just a few points I wanted to add.

The inspiration for this discussion topic on the rights/conditions of young workers came from a desire from the founding APYN members to reflect more the concerns and voices of young people when it came to ensuring their rights in the work place. It was felt that young people have traditionally not been in high numbers and a strong enough voice in the union movement.  This has been problematic considering the specific disadvantages young people face in the labour market and that you have all shared in this forum. 

A few years ago, the ILO supported the participation of young trade unionists to the ITUC Integration Congress in Bangalore where I also had the oppotunity to exchange ideas on youth employment with the youth delegates.  In addition to what has been raised in this discussion forum, other issues were highlighted such as the need for gender equality in the work place, the threat of HIV and working conditions of 15 - 17 year olds (overlap with worst forms of child labour).   I was personnaly impressed with the creativity, energy and good ideas which emerged from these young people who of course had the firsthand experience of what we are discussing. All these concerns/proposed solutions are well outlined in the ITUC Youth Regional Charter.

In times of globalization and the financial crisis, labour force productivity is a major concern.  At the same time, young people have the potential to be the driving force for change, innovation and growth as long as their needs/concerns are taken into account.

In my work in India, another major area of concern/need for young workers is the support they need to make a smooth transition from school to work. There has been substantive investments in basic and higher education leaving not as much infrastructure/resources for secondary education, training, public-private partnerships in training, OJT, enterprise education, etc.  At the same time, the young people I speak to in the states across India want this and now the country is taking this up also with a new policy on secondary education and training. I would like to encourage that as a follow-up to this discussion forum, that we share our thoughts/reflections with young people and their organizations including young trade unionists in the policies/programmes that will affect them.

Finally, with regards to getting more information on the impact of the financial crisis on young people in AP, the report form the first APYN discussion forum on this topic provides a good amount of information (and which may be further updated) and is also located on this portal. 

Finally, please do keep in touch and I look forward to a brilliant 2010 for APYN!

Uma Sarkar

Chief, Education

UNICEF India (




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