Spotlight on Enebish Amarsanaa (CMTU – Mongolia)

“In ten years’ time, today’s young members will be the leaders of the union”

31-year old Enebish Amarsanaa of the CMTU (Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions), urges the ITUC to make the recruitment of young workers one of its top priorities.

What are the aims of the CMTU Youth Committee that you lead?

My main aim is to get young workers to have a greater say in decision-making. 47% of the CMTU’s 200,000 members are under 35 (corresponding to the number of young people in the population), and 60% are women. The rights and interests of those young people should therefore be reflected better in the unions’ work. In ten years’ time today’s young members will be the leaders of the union.

Young people are not very interested in the unions at the moment: they think unions do a good job for older people but are not sure what they can get from them. We need to change that attitude and show how we can help young people joining the labour market.

What is the CMTU doing to recruit young members in Mongolia?

The CMTU organises a lot of seminars and conferences for young people, as well as some social activities (sporting, artistic, etc.), since young people are not very fond of sitting down all day in meeting rooms. One of the most interesting events for young people is the jobs fairs where employers come and present their vacancies. At this year’s job fair we managed to recruit 2,000 young trade unionists including 500 students.

What are the priorities of the APRO (Asia and Pacific Regional Organisation) Youth Committee?

Since it includes youth representatives from all the sub-regions in Asia and the Pacific, the Committee provides a very good forum for discussing young people’s specific concerns. One of its priorities is combating youth unemployment. We have discussed this a lot over the last two years. In 2005, youth unemployment was one of the themes on the agenda of the ILO’s International Labour Conference. We submitted a discussion paper, via the ILO Workers’ Group, for discussion at the conference. This year, the World Bank meeting in Singapore discussed a report by the Youth Committee and we made a number of comments; though we are sure the World Bank is concerned about youth employment it is not enough to produce annual reports, however good they are, since what we need is concrete measures.

In our Youth Charter we have also adopted some recommendations on what unions and governments should be doing to promote youth employment.

What do you expect the ITUC to do in terms of youth policy?

We need at least one person to coordinate all the policy and actions on youth issues. Unless we have someone to coordinate everything it will be very difficult to work at a local level. I think the ITUC should have its own Youth Department, rather than a coordinator included in another department. Unless we can recruit new young members the trade union movement will have no future.

Interview by Samuel Grumiau

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or + 32 476 62 10 18