The Youth Committees are an important link between young people and trade unions, and play a role in advising the Executive Council of Congress on issues of concern to young workers and young unemployed people.
In January 2001, there were 64 trade unions affiliated to Congress, 48 in the Republic and 36 in Northern Ireland; with 20 unions operating in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. Congress as a 32 county organisation has two Youth committees, one in the Republic, the other in Northern Ireland. Both committees are constituted for a 2-year period. Affiliated unions nominate representatives, who must be under the age of 35, to the appropriate committee. The status of Congress Youth is an advisory committee as provided for in the constitution of Congress.
Aims and Purpose
The Youth Committees are an important link between young people and trade unions, and play a role in advising the Executive Council of Congress on issues of concern to young workers and young unemployed people. Its progamme and work priorities are developed at a biennial conference for all young trade unionists. One of the objectives of the Committee structure is to encourage and offer a voice to young trade unionists, through training and other initiatives, to be active in their own unions.
Congress itself campaigns at national level for the promotion and protection of workers' rights, pay and conditions. It also seeks to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and the implementation of economic policies favourable to workers and to unemployed people.
Congress Youth campaigns on issues which are relevant to young workers in particular and also on wider issues including housing for young people, developing a multi-cultural Ireland and global solidarity.
As part of the overall information service of Congress, young people can contact Congress for confidential advice on their rights and entitlements in the workplace.
Through its "Talks to Schools" programme, Congress provides a trained panel of trade union members who visit schools and Youthreach centres throughout the country to inform young people of their rights and responsibilities in working life; and to help them to develop a better understanding of industrial relations procedures. SWAY was a Youthstart project which developed a resource pack for use in schools and centres. Some of this information is available at: http://www.ictu.ie/sway . The project also carried out research into young people's experience of work outside school.
Congress Youth is a full participant in the policy-making and programmes of the Youth Section of the European Trade Union Confederation. ( http://www.etuc.org )
The Congress Youth Officers are Denise Hanrahan in the Republic and Tom Moore in Northern Ireland. Each committee elects a Chair, a Vice-chair and Secretary.