Young Workers for Gender Equality take their demands to the ILO
The International Young Christian Workers (IYCW) want "gender equality" to form a central part of any decent work campaign, and will present this demand to the 98th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva which starts at the beginning of June.
Geethani Peries, IYCW President, Ludovicus Mardiyono, IYCW Team member from the Asia-Pacific region, together with Fanny Sanchez, YCW member from the national movement of Peru, will form the delegation of the IYCW movement for the conference.
"Through our delegation, the IYCW wants to bring the demands and real life testimonies of young workers to the centre of this international forum", says Geethani Peries, newly elected International President and former employee from the Free Trade Zones of Sri Lanka.
"There were 600 workers in our factory producing garments for European countries and 99% were girls aged 18 to 28. I would start work at around 7:30 a.m. and would normally finish at 10 p.m. for a basic salary of around (US$ 18). My overtime hours were not paid. There were no official records saying that we were working. We just received our salary in hands", recalls Ms Peries. "In addition, conditions were very unhealthy. My nose was filled with very dark dust. I realised that I was losing weight and I felt so tired."
The 98th Session of the ILC will focus on the subject of HIV/AIDS in the world of work and Gender Equality at the heart of decent work.
The IYCW has been working on these two important issues for several years. Many national movement members of the organisation are currently developing concrete action in response to HIV/Aids and Gender equality as part of the IYCW campaign for social protection.
IYCW believes gender equality must be ensured as one of the major pillars of social protection.
"In this economic crisis young workers are the most likely group to lose their jobs. Among them, young women are the most vulnerable" says the IYCW president.
"It is unacceptable that in this millennium, women are still facing inequality in our work places, and in society. We don't have equal job opportunity, no job security, we face salary discrimination, are confronted with the daily threat and social exclusion associated with HIV/ AIDS and are forced into jobs that don't respect our dignity"
"As a young workers movement, we need to act today for change in the reality and to liberate young workers with a spirit of unity"
With the support of the members of the movement from around the world, the delegation will present the following concrete demands to the ILC 98th Session:
1.Equal, sustainable and quality job; a job that guarantees the equality between men and women, sustainability of work and its quality with respect to the dignity of young men and women workers.
2.Equal labour force participation; that men and women should have equal job opportunity. There should not be discrimination on basis of gender.
3.Equal social protection; that the scope of social protection coverage should be broadened to include people who are working in the informal economy and home based workers, including house-wives with no work.
4.Equal rights at work; economic, social, cultural and political based rights should be equal for young men and women workers. It should be translated to the national legislation and practically implemented in the field of work.
5.Equal opportunity for education and training; Men and women should have equal opportunities for education
The IYCW asks all the member states, the ILO and trade unions to continue to ensure the education of young men and women on their rights and to work together to obtain gender and job equality, social protection, income security and quality education for all.
With solidarity regards from the International Secretariat
Geethani, Arlindo and Augustine
JOC International aisbl
Avenue Georges Rodenbach, 4