International Youth Day: young people can help build a New Social Contract

Many young people who were affected by the COVID-19 shutdown are still trying to get their place back in the labour market.

For too long, work for young people has been characterised by insecurity, low wages, inadequate or no access to social protection and no access to a trade union.

Most of the world’s young people are in the informal economy and young women are even more likely than young men to be in insecure, low-paying jobs.

Young people can help to rebuild a new social contract and work to prevent the exclusion of their generation to make sure no one is left behind.

This recovery must be funded by fair taxation, debt relief and targeted support for developing economies. It will not be achieved with cuts and austerity.

This International Youth Day, 12 August 2022 , is the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic. A pandemic which is having severe impacts on young people, including on their employment opportunities and living standards. Fulfilling the six key demands of the new social contract is essential for a resilient recovery that does not leave young people behind:

  • Rights: guarantee labour rights and protections for all young workers, including the right to join a union and access to training opportunities and life-long learning;
  • Jobs: invest in climate-friendly jobs along with jobs in health, care, education and other quality public services;
  • Wages: minimum living wages established through a process of collective bargaining allowing working people to meet their needs.
  • Social protection: secure social protection for all workers, including young and informal economy workers, and establish a Global Social Protection Fund;
  • Equality: ensure the equal and equitable participation of young people and equity-seeking groups in economic, social, political and cultural life; and
  • Inclusion: dismantle intersecting systems of oppression that perpetuate the contours of colonialism and exclude people based on gender, race, class, nationality, citizenship, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.