What is the YW Committee doing?

Maxwell Hamilton · 22 June 2022

The Prospect young workers committee is made up of young members throughout the union to champion and campaign for issues that matter to our growing young worker membership. Maxwell Hamilton, Science Museum Group Rep and sitting chair of the committee talks about the aims of the committee and what they have achieved in the last year.

What are the aims of the young workers committee 2021-2022?

There are countless issues affecting young workers today, and although the committee would like to address every single one of them, it was decided that we would select a few key priorities to focus on for the year. Through extensive discussion, the young workers committee decided that for the year 21/22 we would focus on 3 key aims, outlined below:

Firstly, the committee felt strongly that we wanted to give young workers agency over their careers and how they work. Young workers exist both in workplaces and communities and fair conditions at work should reflect the young worker’s living situation. As a committee we want to support young workers in organising and negotiating with their employers in order to secure fair working conditions.

Secondly, the young workers committee also recognized the lack of diversity within senior union positions and committed to improving equality and diversity within these roles.  We want to empower young workers from all backgrounds to apply for branch committee & national committee roles.

Finally, the committee wanted to further develop and engage young workers and build solidarity both within Prospect and with BECTU  by bolstering existing networks and, where appropriate, creating new networks to reflect the issues and barriers facing young workers in different sectors, regions and positions.

Young people in co-working creative space 

What has the young workers committee achieved in 2021-22?

This year, despite significant challenges, your young workers committee have worked hard and made measurable progress against these aims.

There will soon be a ‘digital noticeboard’ making finding and accessing resources for organising as easy as possible. This noticeboard will help support young workers in their organising and negotiations and will be the first port of call for young workers to explore the wealth of information available to them.

The committee also undertook a significant piece of work to understand the changing world of work affected young workers. It was recognised that the increase in home working, surveillance technologies, and now the increase in cost of living had a disproportionate effect on young workers. A questionnaire was sent to all young workers in order for us to understand how the change in working practices affected them. This questionnaire will inform the committee’s future aims and will help us ensure young workers are not unfairly affected by this shift in working practices.

By far the biggest piece of work undertaken by the committee was the young workers forum. With significant help from our Young Workers Organiser, this weekend conference was a huge success. Over the  2 days, over 30 young workers from across Prospects sectors came together to discuss the history of the union movement, the challenges faced by young workers and how to embed equality, diversion and inclusion in their branches and workplaces. The conference went a long way in supporting our aims as a committee by supporting young workers to have agency over their careers as well as promoting the roles available to them in their branches, and in the wider union.

What is next for the young workers committee?

The young workers will continue to work against the above aims, and ensure we complete all projects which we are currently working on. From the autumn, the committee will revisit their aims and build upon the progress which has been made. The outgoing committee members, including myself, will be leaving the committee in order to give other young workers the opportunity to join. As the current chair of the committee, I am incredibly proud of what the committee has achieved. I have gained a significant amount of experience and knowledge in how the union is run, and it has strengthened my resolve and belief in the importance of the union as a whole which I intend to embed within my branch. I would strongly recommend anyone considering applying to do so.

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