Queensland Young Workers Unite and Organise for Change

Over 100 young workers from health to hospitality joined together at Southbank Tafe over the weekend, planning ambitious improvements to young people’s workplace rights.

The third annual Young Workers Conference, hosted in conjunction with Queensland Unions, saw young workers sharing knowledge to overcome workplace injustices experienced by young people, such as gig work and insufficient work breaks.

Jacqueline King, Queensland Unions General Secretary, said it was inspiring to hear young people sharing their lived experiences in workplaces and realising their power to plan campaigns and ignite change.

“Young workers are the future of Queensland and listening to stories shared at the conference, it was clear they continue to face a wide range of struggles in the workplace.

“Issues like insecure hours, wage theft, and harassment are sadly very much still alive for young people in the workplace.

“On top of this, they are having to navigate things like dodgy contractors and gig work, alongside really big issues related to their mental health, safety and the economic future,” Ms King said.

Leaning into the conference’s theme – young workers, old struggles, attendees engaged in presentations from industry leaders, including workshops highlighting a wide range of historical achievements fought for and secured by working people.

Young Workers Hub organiser Bianca Reed said it was clear from the large turnout of attendees at the conference that young workers are motivated to keep winning change in their workplaces.

“Young workers in 2024 stand on the shoulders of so many incredible trailblazers who’ve come before to help realise crucial advancements in our workplaces,” Ms Reed said.

“By reflecting on how far working people’s rights and entitlements have come, particularly around issues like gender equity, young workers today can see how much we can achieve by using our collective voice.”

Young workers at the conference resolved to get more involved in issues impacting them, including insufficient breaks, staffing pressures, insecure work, and lack of education around workplace rights.

“It’s clear young people need to keep using our voices to progress our rights in the workplace.

“Until we can secure really vital things like superannuation paid to young workers for every dollar we earn, and workers compensation for gig worker, young people are not equal or safe in their workplace,” Ms Read said.

Young workers attending the conference resolved to take action to fight back against these issues, with the hub rolling out visits to schools across Queensland in the coming months to educate students around their workplace rights.

“The day was uplifting and allowed young people to see the impact we can all have by getting loud and organized, because to be honest, the fight for equality is one that really never ends,” Ms King said.

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