Press release of the International YCW for 1st May


Today, one Need is More Obvious than Ever:  Social Protection for All to Ensure Dignity in Life and Work

Today is the 134th anniversary of the International Day of the Working Class. We are commemorating it by demonstrating or meeting online instead of walking together out in the streets. This shows what we are experiencing every day: our whole lives and societies are impacted by the global Covid-19 pandemic. What are young workers’ experiences in this situation? Please read some testimonies below.

“Hello to all co-workers! From now on, my husband and I are without work, without pay. I just finished my contract last February 29th in a food factory. My husband was asked not to go to work because of the lockdown due to Covid-19. I was supposed to work in the factory again, but it was postponed because of the closure. We'll have to wait until the virus pandemic is over. This situation is difficult because we can't work and we can't afford to buy food. There are relief items, but it is not enough for all our daily needs. We really need money, but of course we have to put up with this and stay home. The hardest part is seeing your children hungry. It's okay for us adults, we're willing to sacrifice, but it's very sad for children to experience something like this.” - Philippines

"Working for a Promising Future", IYCW Intervention at the ILO Centenary, ILC 2019



Dear Director-General, distinguished delegates, thank you for giving us the floor.

We thank and congratulate the commission for this very interesting document. It is indeed crucial to discuss the future of work in this centenial year. It is not far off: new forms of work and the challenges of tomorrow are already here, and we, young workers, are the first to experience them. Just one example from today's young workers’ reality:

"My name is Ana, I live in Nicaragua. I have a university degree. I have now been working from home for 4 years for a US-based customs company. My work schedule is 8 hours a day and the only contact with my co-workers is by email or phone.

On May 1st, the International YCW asserts the right to live and work in dignity!

133 years after the Chicago events, here we are celebrating our “International Working-Class Day” together on 1st May. For the International YCW, May 1st is the day we raise the flag of our struggles and demands along with the worker movement at the international level. Every year from 24th April to 1st May, we organize an International Week of Young Workers (IWYW) with activities which have a political and training impact in countries around the world.

Decades of struggles by the international worker movement have gone by and the IYCW, through its actions, has taken part in them. However, the achievements we have accomplished in a number of countries over the years are now regressing. This regression is due to new conditions of exploitation at work that have an impact on young workers’ lives and undermine workers’ struggles: increase in working hours while salaries are decreasing, new jobs on virtual platforms, unequal rights between men and women and pre-determined gender roles at work, high rate of informal work in the world but lack of social security for workers in the sector…