The New CWU Youth

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It’s been a few days now since the end of the CWU 2012 General and Industrial Conferences, so I’ve had time to sit back and think about policy that was put in place.

For us, as CWU Youth, there was a key motion, which was accepted by the NEC. This was the change in the Union’s rule book so that any reference to Youth Advisory Committee’ was replaced with CWU Youth’. Now, some people may struggle to understand the importance of this, but this change is important. CWU Youth are an integral part of this Union and it’s important that it remains so, in the same way that Young Labour is integral to Labour. We are, rightly so, at the centre of this Union and we continue to build our relationships both internally and externally. I do though think that there is much more scope for us to work with our sister organisations across the Trade Union movement.

The response to the Government during debates in General Conference was clear. Our members have had enough and are ready to stand up for what is right. What is important for CWU Youth is that the motion in the name of the Youth Conference (motion 16) was carried unanimously. This gives the CWU Youth Committee some clear objectives for the near future. To organise a national demonstration on the issue of youth unemployment will be no easy task, but I believe that we’ll get support behind us. As we all know, the crisis of youth unemployment is a scandal that needs addressing urgently through paid, permanent work, and not through the Government’s half-baked ideas.

CWUYouth Fringe 1A highlight for me at Conference was the fringe meeting held at lunch on Monday 23 April. Having been to many fringe meetings previously, I don’t think I’ve seen one as well attended. It was a really honour to chair the fringe and I’d like to thank Dave Daniels (Chair – LGBT Advisory Committee) and Amarjite Singh (Chair – Race Advisory Committee) for their contributions. The guest Owen Jones Leroy Roseniorspeakers at the fringe (Owen Jones, Leroy Rosenior and Paul Mortimer) had audience captivated throughout and this was clear by the number of members who stopped behind to talk to them. It was great to see how many people had brought their copy of Chavs for Owen to sign. I’m also really pleased that Owen took the time to record a podcast with me which you can listen to through the home page of Another speaker at the fringe was Weyman Bennett (UAF) who also took time to record a podcast with Dave Chivers, CWU Youth Vice-Chair.

Within the Telecoms and Financial Services Conference there was an open session around BTT (Building Tomorrow Together). This took the form of presentations from Organising and from the top table, as well as contributions from Jo Lawton and Sara Barnicoat on their experiences in CWU Youth. It was important for me that I spoke during this session. Although the BTT document on howto bring more young people forward in the Union is important and shows that the TFSE is taking this incredibly seriously, I don’t believe that the full extent and scope of CWU Youth is fully understood, with many not knowing about the website, blogs, and resources available. So, this should also form a focus for CWU Youth over the coming months. We might be known, but are we truly recognised? Do those who aren’t in CWU Youth know that the resources available are applicable to them too? My personal view is that they don’t.

Looking back on a rainy week in Bournemouth, I have to say that I think the future of CWU Youth is strong. There were many new faces, with many contributing to debate inCWUYouth StallConference. What I found encouraging is how many of these new young people have already indicated that they’re going to be in Belfast for the National Youth Education Event (NYEE). There’s a definite buzz around CWU Youth, and there seems to be a definite move within the Union to accept that CWU Youth is integral to our future.