Decent Work and Decent Life for Young People in SEE

The SEE Youth workshop on “Decent Work and Decent Life for Young People in SEE”, hosted by the CTUM Youth Network, was held on January 23th-25th, 2009 in the CTUM Trade Union School in Kotor, Montenegro. The activity was a follow up to the SEE follow up workshop on “Trade Union in Action for More and Better Jobs”, held on February 11th – 12th , 2008 in Sarajevo. It was supported by the LO-TCO Sweden. The workshop was organized by the ITUC PERC SEE Office in close cooperation with the SEE Youth Network

The workshop was attended by youth representatives of the ITUC PERC affiliates and partner organisations in South-East Europe: Albania (KSSH and BSPSH), Serbia (TUC “Nezavisnost” and CATUS), Montenegro (CTUM), Kosovo (BSPK), Croatia (UATUC, NHS and HUS), Macedonia (UNASM and KSS) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (KSBiH: SSRS and SSSBiH).

The representatives of the partner organizations from Romania and Bulgaria were invited to the workshop, but apologies for their non-participation on the workshop for technical reasons. Ms. Emilija Grujic, Program Coordinator of the FES – Office for “Labour Relations and Social Dialogue in SEE” cancelled her participation due to sickness.

Youth representatives from twelve ITUC PERC affiliates and partner organizations in the SEE region, along with two representatives of the Montenegrin Students Parliament Association, the PERC and ETUC Youth Committee Chair, the SEE Youth network Deputy Coordinator, and the ITUC PERC SEE Office Team Coordinator participated on the workshop.
The General secretary of the CTUM, Veselin Vujanovic and the Coordinator for education of CTUM attended the meeting expressing the CTUM’s full support to the Trade Union youth work in Montenegro and within the PERC. The total number of participants was 29. (See attached list of participants). The workshop was facilitated by Ivan Djurisic, SEEYN Deputy Coordinator and Jasmin Redzepovic, ITUC PERC Office for SEE - Sarajevo. Consecutive interpretation in C/B/S/M, Albanian and English was provided during the workshop.

The objective of the workshop was to discuss issues related to the PERC youth activities and the preparation of the PERC Youth Conference in June 2009 which will set up the PERC Youth Committee. The discussions and consultations on this were undertaken during 2008 within the ETUC Youth Committee and SEE and NIS sub-regions. Robert Hansen, chair of the PERC >transitional< Youth Committee from LO Norway joined the workshop to share related information on the PERC and LO Norway youth work.

After the introduction of the participants the representatives of the Montenegrin Students Parliament Association gave a short presentation on their organization, work and services they provide to students (legal aid, stipends, medical checking, organization of employment fair, etc.). They expressed appreciation for the valuable cooperation with the Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro, which launched a joint campaign on supporting student’s education trough stipends from a special fund, created by the CTUM. The student’s representatives highlighted the importance of regional cooperation among students and young people. It was concluded that joint cooperation in the filed of education on workers rights, particulary of students who work for the “student’s services” as seasonal workers, is of high priority and should be one of the fields for joint cooperation.

Briefing on the PERC SEE activities and projects

The workshop agenda included sharing information on the different ITUC PERC programs in SEE and activities organized by different Solidarity support and partner organizations active in the SEE that are of particular relevance for the Trade Union youth work.

The participants were informed on the continuation of the ITUC-ILO Evaluation of Education project in NIS and SEE countries. First evaluations were conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania during 2007 and follow ups during 2008 in Serbia and Albania. The participants were informed about the analytical paper on the ILO-ITUC Evaluation of Education program in SEE, which was discussed on the PERC Summer School and the SEE Trade Union Forum meeting in September 2008. (Please, find attached analytical paper).

Jasmin Redzepovic, Team Coordinator briefed the participants on the ITUC PERC-FNV project on informal economy, coordinated by Sergejus Glovackas, ITUC PERC Vilnius office, in which a number of specific activities with young people are organised. The main aim of these activities is to increase the awareness on the consequences of undeclared work and assist in developing organising strategies for young people who work in informal employment relationship. Additionally, a network of young economists from the Trade Unions in the SEE region take active part in the project implementation and many of them are activist of the TU youth structures. For more information consult the PERC website:

Short reports on ITUC-PERC SEE Youth Network activities:

Domagoj Ferdebar, UATUC presented the experience of the three Croatian Trade Unions (UATUC, NHS and HUS) on organizing the national activity on 20th of June 2008, as part of the regional SEE campaign “It’s Time”, supported by the FES and EU project “SEE.Y.NET”. Among other activities, a youth concert and the launch of a “Book of complaints” with regard to young workers rights was send from one city to another, in which young people were asked to write complaints on their workers rights. The idea is to present the “Book of complaints” on the 7 of October 2008, the Day for Action, but it will be presented most probably on 1st of May 2009, since the collection of all complaints was not completed. The representatives of the CATUS said that the 20th of June regional campaign was a great experience for their organization. A public event in Belgrade was organized, jointly with the Youth section of the TUC “Nezavisnost”. The cooperation with the media was fruitful which resulted in a good visibility of the Trade Union youth work in the public. Creative workshops were organized animating young people to start thinking and understanding their workers rights and these practices should be continued. Igor Tokic, KSBiH (SSSBiH) pointed out a number of lessons learned. He said that the position of the implementing partners in the project could have been better and clearer. In his opinion, great commitments were under the responsibility of the Youth sections which were a real challenge and a risk for all the partners in the project. But, after all it could be said that great achievements were made by implementing this campaign. Svjetlana Knezevic Divjak, KSBiH (SSRS) emphasized that the Youth section of SSRS has not taken part in the campaign due to a lack of better coordination with the FES. The BSPK representative suggested that Ivan Djurisic should prepare an information on the campaign. It was agreed that each youth section should send short information on the campaign till 10th of February. Afterwards Ivan Djurisic would prepare a summary on the campaign and project till 15 of February. Jasmin Redzepovic informed the participants that the FES Office in Belgrade prepared a public information on the whole project, as well as, the PERC which could be found on the web sites of these two organizations. On the request of some of the participants he promised to send the draft project proposal prepared on SEEYN meetings “The Youth Goes Public”, organized in 2006 and 2007, in Kotor, Tirana and Sarajevo, supported by the FES and ICFTU. A number of Trade Union Youth sections reported that they are working on the preparation of project proposal, being assisted by the FES and consultant Ingo Kuhlbort, which will be submitted to the respective EC delegations in the countries of the region for funding in February or June 2009. These projects would be supported by the EC program “Youth in Action”, supporting national and cross-border youth activities.

Ivana Prnjat, CTUM and Gordana Ilakovac, HUS shared some information and experiences on the ILO Turin Young Leadership Training: “Decent Work for Youth”, organized by the ILO International Training Center Turin, in October 2008. Both of them emphasised that the Decent Work agenda was elaborated, giving special attention to the occupational healthy and safety and social protection of young people. The participants stressed that these types of courses/trainings are very important in developing young workers and Trade Unionists skills and competencies. The draft ILO kit on youth education, which is now for some while in preparation, is still not finished, but it would be of great value for the youth education in the region to have such tool for designing young workers education.
The PERC Youth Committee work – plans and perspectives

Robert Rene Hansen, PERC and ETUC Youth Committee chair gave a presentation on the PERC and ETUC Youth Committee structures and work. He focused on the current consultations undertaken in the light of the PERC Youth Conference preparations, stressing that the positive example of the PERC Women’s Conference of October 2008 and set up of the PERC Womens Committee should be followed. He also explained the process of youth mapping, which will be done based on a questionnaire prepared by the ETUI-REHS for the purposes of the ETUC YC and forthcoming PERC Youth Conference. The questionnaire will help in identifying the current position of Youth structures within the TU organisations and its work. Robert H. expressed the PERC YC support to the regional and cross-border cooperation of the SEE Youth Network and the efforts undertaken by each Trade Union organisation on national level in strengthening the position of young Trade Unionists in the Trade Union and society. The participants were made familiar with the terms of reference of the transitional PERC YC and the discussions on the number of seats and criteria for the membership in the PERC YC. On the request of the meeting participants he explained the reasons for the decline of TU membership which have been elaborated in the ETUI-REHS research: “Trade Unions and Young People”, prepared by Marcus Kahmann. (See enclosed document).

Due to the shortage of time no presentation was made on the Baltic Trade Union Youth Network. For more information consult the link:

The SEEYN contribution to Decent work for young people in SEE

Jasmin Redzepovic informed the participants on the ITUC campaigns in 2009, stressing that the organisations form the SEE region have participated in the WDDW Day for Action on 7 October trough various manifestations and actions to which the SEEYN has made also an interesting contribution organising the traditional regional youth gathering “SEED” in Bela Crkva: and a number of national youth activities around the WDDW.

After the various presentations participants were divided into five groups, composed of youth participants from different countries and language areas. The groups discussed: (1) the strong and weak sides of the Trade Union Confederation approaches towards the TU youth structures (sections, networks) and (2) what should be maintained and which weak points shall be improved. Each group prepared a short SWOT analyses, assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and treats (see enclosed appendix).

The participants agreed that efforts should be made to improve the current position of young workers on the labour market and the Trade Union organisations in terms of better vocational training, education on workers rights and representation of young workers interests within their own Trade Union organisation. The Trade Union Youth sections mandate and scope of work is in some aspects of its work still not absolutely clear. On one hand the statutes of the TU confederations in the region determinate the Youth sections/networks as “interest groups”, which are “Action forms of the general TU activities”, which has a board and a president with the right to vote in the highest decision bodies of the confederation, often not backed by a real youth representation from the local to the national level, which confronts them with the question of legitimacy. In some organisations efforts were made in building up regional and sectorial youth networks of educators and organisers, but still significant efforts have to be made in reaching a mainstreamed TU youth policy in the organisations of the region, particulary on the company level, involving young Trade unionists into local/company TU boards ensuring the renewable of Trade Union leadership from the grass route level to the national level.

The participants discussed the idea of setting up of an youth advisory committee, that should have the responsibility to advise and recommend policies on all the issues that could be of concern for the young workers. The mandate of such committees would be to express its recommendations and advises to all the decision-making bodies of the national confederations and of its constituencies, and for this should have a recognized legitimacy, i.e. should be elected, preferably in congresses. The building up of a group of activists or networks able to engage in actions and campaigns to promote the rights of the young people in the society should be further supported and maintained; such groups should be able to build alliance with other groups of organizations of the civil society that share the same objectives.

The building up of the PERC Youth Committee and meeting conclusions
Mina Vukojicic, SEE Youth Network Coordinator has changed her job and has stopped being active in the Youth section of the TUC “Nezavisnost”, in September 2008 and is no longer SEEYN Coordinator. The participants agreed that Ivan Djurisic, president of the CTUM Youth Network, Deputy Coordinator of the SEEYN shall continue coordinating the SEEYN, representing the SEEYN opinions in the consultation process on the building up of the PERC Youth Committee and the preparation of the PERC Youth Conference. He is asked to participate in the PERC YC meeting, end of February in Cyprus.

Before the end of the meeting, during the second day of the workshop, the representative of the SSSBiH Youth section (KSBiH) suggested Arbnore Zogu, president of the BSPK Youth Network to be the next coordinator of the SEE Youth network and member of the future PERC Youth Committee from the SEE region. He elaborated his proposal saying that Arbnore Z. is now for long time active in the SEEYN and the BSPSK Youth section and that a person from the Albanian speaking area should be the next coordinator, so that all sub-regions of the SEE region are fully involved in the SEEYN. The CATUS representatives suggested that this person should be Alma Isa, from KSSH, arguing that Alma Isa speaks and writes excellent English and is very active Trade Unionists from Albania. The SSSBIH Youth section president reacted saying that Alma Isa was for the first time on one of the SEEYN activities and that it would be more appropriate to choose someone with experience, who knows the PERC, people and organisations from the region. These arguments were supported by the representatives of UATUC, TUC Nezavisnost and NHS.

The CATUS representatives said that they would need to consult with the leadership of the CATUS Youth section on this before giving any final opinion on the proposals. Ivan Djursic, suggested to discusse this issue on the next SEE YN meeting. Jasmin Redzepovic explained that the PERC might have no funding to organise a next SEE youth meeting before June 2009 and that consultations have to be organised via E-mail. It was agreed that the consultations would be organised on sub-regional level: 1. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, 2. Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia and Albania and Kosovo, which would be coordinated by Ivan Djurisic. So, each sub-region would have one speaker who would liaise with Ivan Dj. on this issue before the PERC Youth conference.

In any case, the SEEYN agreed that the rotation of the PERC YC members and the SEEYN coordinator should be organised more often, at least once in two years. This idea was also supported by Robert Rene Hansen. The final decisions on the SEEYN Coordinator who will be at the same time the PERC YC member from this region will be made after the terms of references of the PERC YC will be adopted by the PERC Executive Committee on the 16 of March and before the PERC Youth Conference.
Following conclusions were made:

1. The SEE Youth Network member organisations express the need for a more regular communication and exchange of information among the SEEYN members. In first place the PERC Youth Committee along with the national confederations, the ILO and other SSO are asked to continue with their support and assistance to the regional cooperation in SEE among young Trade Unionists building up an all-inclusive trade union movement in SEE and Europe.

2. Based on the discussions and the SWOT analyses of the SEEYN workshop participants the problems of young people and workers shall be high on the agenda of the Trade Unions in times of economic crisis and deficits in decent work. The PERC Work plan for 2009 and 2010 needs to integrate this aspects as one of the PERC priorities.

3. The number of Trade Union youth activists and activities targeting young people need to be increased and their efforts should be supported by the national Trade Union organisation and the PERC.

4. The ITUC and PERC are asked to support among others young legal and economist’s expert network that would be working on EU integrations and the harmonisation of the labour legislations in the SEE region with EU standards. Sharing of translations of EU directives and experiences among young Trade Union experts would be of added value.

Report prepared by: Sarajevo and Podgorica, May 2009

Jasmin Redzepovic Ivan Djurisic
Team Coordinator SEE Youth Network
ITUC PERC Office for SEE Deputy Coordinator

ETUI Young workers
WG notes
List of participants