As part of International Youth Day activities coordinated by IUF Asia/Pacific across the region on August 12, young agricultural workers and farmers in Myanmar, Bangladesh and India mobilized to demand the right to a living wage, stable incomes and secure jobs.
In Myanmar, members of the IUF-affiliated AFFM in Yangon, organized public gatherings to bring attention to the right of young workers to a living wage. Land grabbing, the spread of corporate agriculture and the impact of climate change have intensified precarious employment and unstable incomes, with particularly severe effects on a younger generation of workers employed on farms and plantations.
In Bangladesh, BAFLF and NFWA celebrated International Youth Day for the first time. Young farm workers joined a series of educational seminars, mass meetings and a public rally involving over 300 union members. The seminars raised awareness of the concept of a living wage, the rights associated with securing a living wage through collective bargaining and secure jobs. As part of the struggle for permanent jobs with stable incomes, young farm workers continue to fight for improvements in health and safety, within a broader trade union campaign for climate justice. The active involvement of youth in the struggle for greater job security and a safe workplace was highlighted in the mass rally on August 12, as BAFLF and NFWA declared a commitment to use International Youth Day every year to promote young workers’ rights.
In India young members of the Gujarat Agricultural Labour Union (GALU) held a meeting to discuss the challenges faced by young workers in agriculture and how to organize more youth. The meeting was followed by a public rally that marched to the office of the District Labour Commissioner to submit a petition. The petition, handed to the Commissioner by young leaders, demanded that the government provide employment for unemployed youth, end corruption in recruitment and employment opportunities, and provide skills development for youth so they can secure good jobs with stable incomes.