The IYCW is a dynamic movement of young workers who are active and motivated to work for justice. Young workers develop actions to fight the injustices, starting from their own reality and experience of life and work.
Today thousands of young workers join in YCW from their reality as unemployed, workers in the informal economy, young women working in the factories, homes and in farms, young workers in contract and temporary jobs. Young people learn to discover their dignity and meaning of life through the actions and activities of YCW.
YCW is a movement of education through action based on the experiences young workers live. The starting point of YCW is personal and collective situations that the young workers live in everyday life and the values that are contradictory to their beliefs and aspirations that exist in the society.
The first Young Christian Workers (YCW) was formed in the year 1912 in Laeken Belgium. It was founded by Jacques Meert, Paul Garcet, Madeleine De Roo, Fernand Tonnet, and a young priest Joseph Cardijn. Since then the YCW has grown in its mission among the young workers. In 1957 the YCW became officially an International Movement with its first World Council in Rome. It continues to serve its original objectives considering the changes affecting the young workers as the International Young Christian Workers (IYCW).
IYCW is a Non-Governmental International Movement of young workers actively present in more than 50 countries around the world. IYCW is the movement by, for and with young workers both men and women between the ages 15 to 30. It is a movement based on democracy and participation of young workers in decision-making at all levels.
The fundamental objectives of YCW:
- Allow the young workers to discover the deepest meaning of their life and live in accordance with their personal and collective dignity.
- Train the young workers to assume the responsibilities and find solutions to their own situations at local, national and international levels.
- Educate and motivate young workers to take actions for better working and living conditions.
- Promote inter-religious dialogue among the young workers and create an intercultural society where solidarity and justice prevail.
The International YCW represents the voice of young workers and has an official status in the following organizations:
- International Labour Organisation (ILO), Geneva - special consultative status.
- United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Paris – Operational status
- Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), New York – Operational status
- Youth Unit, United Nations, New York * Food and Agricultural Organisation, (FAO) Rome
- Conference of International Catholic Organisations (CICO) – Associate Member
What do the young workers do in YCW?
YCW is a school of life where young workers from all walks of life meet in groups regularly. The young workers discuss about their working and living conditions, free time, family situations, relationships, beliefs, faith, dreams, values and aspirations. They take personal and collective actions to change the unjust situations at local, national and international level.
Today the YCW organises the young workers in all continents according to the sector of work in informal economy, temporary work, the unemployed and the young women workers. YCW provides the formation and training for them to share and reflect about their life and work. These reflections are done based on the See, Judge and Act method leading to actions. The actions of YCW aim to bring about changes in the society and at the personal level concerning living and working conditions.
IYCW vision for a new society
- We want to build a society, in which there is an equal distribution of wealth and resources, a society in which the people are at the centre of the economic, political and social concerns and where solidarity and justice prevail. A society that guarantees all the fundamental rights that are universally recognised for all the people.
- We want Just work for all, for the functioning, transformation and development of society and to generate the social well-being for all in all spheres of life. On this basis work becomes human because of what people do for themselves and for others in a social, cultural and economic context.
- We want to have a society that guarantees all the people free and quality education. And this education needs to develop our capacities and promote equal opportunities by teaching us to learn through debates and confrontations.
- We want to build a society that guarantees freedom and happiness in our work, community and political life.
We as young workers take action to
- restore our dignity in our lives and in our work places.
- have our rights respected in the society we live in and in our work places.
- be recognised as human beings with values other than economic ones;
- promote peace and fight against war;
- educate the young workers to oppose the neo-liberal policies and proposals of institutions like International Monitory Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organisation.
The International Council is the supreme decision-making body of the IYCW that meets every four years. It is made up of representatives of the member national movements. The International Council
- analyses the young workers reality all over the world and evaluate the actions of the IYCW,
- decides on the orientation of the future work within IYCW,
- approves the financial reports,
- adopts the new International Plan of Action and Finance Plan,
- elects the International Team,
- approves the resolutions and motions
The International Team coordinates the actions of the International YCW from the national to the international level. It is composed of a President, Secretary General, Treasurer, Team Members and Adult Collaborators.The International Team meets once a year to evaluate and plan its work. This includes to:
- implement the International Plan of Action developed by the International council through the National Movements,
- coordinate the actions of the International YCW through and with the National Movements,
- represent the young workers and lobby for their demands with the international organizations and institutions,
- organize and coordinate the activities in the continents and at international level,
- develop the education on finance and financial management of the IYCW at all levels,
- organize and hold the International council.