Trade Unions: Reaching Out to Young People

Trade unions have undergone significant development in recent years, in Europe and beyond. The areas in which the trade unions work are crucial for workers in the EU member states and further afield. Trade unions defend fundamental social values such as solidarity, equality and cohesion. They are working for the member states with a strong social dimension, focusing on workers' interests and wellbeing. Unfortunately, the number of union members is decreasing, and young people usually show very little interest in trade unions. Raising awareness is impossible without effective use of modern forms of communication, therefore marketing and PR are becoming increasingly important tools for the development of trade unions. The time has come for trade unionists to build up a stronger dialogue with young people.

Internet is the major power developing communication forms, there is even a globally used Internet metalanguage. So, how to impress young people? How to make them well-informed about trade unions activities and raise their interest?

CEYTUN workshop in Prague

At a meeting in Prague during the summer of 2015, young unionists of the Central European Young Trade Unionist’s Network (CEYTUN) discussed trade union marketing and PR. CEYTUN  is a platform of over fifty young trade unionist from six Central and Eastern European countries. Their goal is to create long-term relationships in order to advance cooperation of young trade unionists in Europe.

Together with experts they reviewed current forms, achievements and failures of union campaigns and learned which tools are helpful for developing new modern and effective campaigns. The aim of the meeting was to make young unionists well-equipped with new communication methods, tools and strategies they will be able to apply in the future.

Trade unions see marketing as a very important and often underrated tool to present the results of their work. They regard modern communication methods as key competences they have to obtain for the benefit of their major activity - the representation of employees’ interests.

Viktória Nagy, the national coordinator of Hungary said: “Good marketing and PR is the key to reach young people nowadays. If you don’t speak the right language or don’t use the right channels you simply don’t get through. We need to be attractive, easily accessible, quick in response and be in line with the golden rule of K.I.S.S. - Keep it short and simple! “

Young trade unionists want to be capable of communicating and reaching other young people and owing to their meeting in Prague they have appropriate and effective marketing and PR methods for it.