It is an unavoidable element of our identity. Introducing oneself is based on what one person does – his/her job. Many people build most of their social links, relationships through work and the contrary is only true for the unemployed. Even the YCW’s identity depends on a professional aspect: young, Christians and workers.
- It gives access or rights to health services, family subsidies for children, right to a pension, etc.
- It determinates our situation in society, whereas, in the Middle Ages, it was birth that determined this situation. Aristocrats e.g. were not allowed to work (even not after having become poor) but would lose their position if they started to work. Today only a minority rejects work or only wants to work part-time, because they see another important dimension of life and feel threatened by the importance work may take in their lives.
A. Who we are
The YCW is an international Movement of young workers, for young workers, run by young workers. In the YCW, young people learn through action, to analyse, evaluate, and thus to understand their situations, in order to change them and see them in a wider context.
For the past three years, YCW Europe's work has taken the form of a broad campaign against social exclusion and for an intercultural society. Many of our local actions and projects have been able to identify the problems we, as young people, experience on a day-to-day basis and to develop alternatives. The experience gained through the local actions and projects has been pooled and discussed at national and European level.
This process has also helped us to arrive at a more concrete definition of what we mean by social exclusion and an intercultural society.
B. What we say
The aim of this list of demands is to express our deepest aspirations as young people:
The desire for freedom, for friendship, to be an important part of society and to experience intercultural living.
Our demands and observations stem from our local actions and projects. We would compare our society to a train rushing ever faster down a track, with many of its passengers fearing that it might be hurtling in the wrong direction. Economy and politics try to find a solution by increasing the speed. We are looking for a new direction, a new track towards the future.
We believe in young people's ability to shape their own lives and to contribute to shaping society. Young people are individuals with their own personalities, dreams and aspirations, and they need the chance to translate them into reality.
The demands made in this bill have been drawn from the experiences of thousands of young Europeans.
These experiences make us think that it is possible to build a society with a more human face, a society of solidarity in which you, I and others can be happy and develop our abilities.
We are young people from working-class backgrounds, aged between 15 and 30. We invite everyone who wishes to contribute to designing better vocational training for the future to join us so that we can reflect on the subject together.
We wish to involve the people with political responsibility for vocational training in our discussions. We also want to involve youth organizations, who know how important it is that all should participate in building our common future.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN EUROPE?
Our society is going through changes so profound that they are completely transforming the job market. If present trends continue, only a minority0will have access to stable, skilled and well-paid work, while the majority will go from one badly-paid temporary post to the next, with little security or social protection. A considerable proportion of the population will find itself in an even worse situation, completely excluded from the universe of production and consumption, with no social protection whatsoever.
The European Community Memorandum on Vocational Training for the 1990s starts out from the assumption that vocational training almost automatically leads to employment. Such an assumption creates exaggerated hopes which are quite out of step with reality. Though vocational training sometimes helps young people to enter the job market, we know that in many cases it does not. In other words, vocational training is not going to solve the whole problem of unemployment.
The main problem of our society is that its wealth is concentrated in ever fewer hands.
We believe it is urgent that wealth and work should be shared, in order to provide work for all. Working time should be reduced without loss of wages. We also need the introduction of a "social wage", based on the principle that everyone has the right to live in dignity.