Growing confidence among young trade workers on show at STUC youth conference

June 30th 2017

STUC Youth Conference 2017 will take place in the context of a massive increase in activity among young workers. Surge in young peoples’ activity in politics is also being seen in the workplace.

STUC Youth Committee Chair and PCS members Sarah Spencer said:

“Over the past few years in Scotland there has been an enormous increase in young people working collectively to stand up for their rights, challenging zero hour contracts, discriminatory pay rates and the gig economy.

“Young people still face enormous challenges in the workplace but there is a growing mood of defiance, but also of confidence that real change can be achieved through union activity.

“Over the past year, young workers in the Better than Zero campaign have forced companies such as Mooboo and Las Iguanas to change hiring and tipping policies. Through direct action they achieved a sit down and negotiation with the powerful G1 group owned by Stefan King.

“Unite the union has launched its hospitality branch and a hospitality charter was recently launched, based on the Scottish Fair Work Framework but created by young people talking about their experiences of work.”

STUC Deputy General Secretary Dave Moxham said:

“Since the 2014 independence referendum the number of young people becoming active in and around the workplace has shown a dramatic rise. Taken in conjunction with the surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn and the increase in young people voting, we are really optimistic for the future.

“Young people work in all sectors of the economy and will play a major role in improving conditions, not just in the private sector, but in activity to break the public sector pay cap.” Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:

“I’m delighted to be speaking at this weekend’s STUC youth conference. Organised youth movements have a long history of identifying and addressing social challenges. And it’s clear from the motions this weekend – from campaigning against zero hour contracts, through to highlighting young male suicide – the STUC Youth Conference is continuing this fine and much needed tradition.

“It’s great to see more young people joining a trade union in Scotland as they play a vital role in sustaining democracy in society, especially in the workplace where they protect workers' rights and promote fair employment practices. For that reason, the Scottish Government believes every worker ‎should be entitled to trade union representation.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Sottish Greens’ co-convener due to speak the conference, said:

“With Brexit bringing great uncertainty to our economic future, it is reassuring to see so many young people becoming actively engaged in their communities and workplaces. The success of the Better Than Zero campaign shows that they will not let themselves be ignored.

“With young people so often bearing the brunt of insecure employment, through zero hours contracts and low wages in the growing gig economy, it is vital that we tackle employers who think it is acceptable to not pay all workers the Real Living Wage, regardless of age.


For further details contact: Dave Moxham 07891026870


The 77th Annual STUC Youth Conference takes place on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July, 2017 at the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Clydebank, Glasgow.

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