The project “Rights at Work, Work on Rights”, coordinated by Development Center for Youth from Belgrade during the past 12 months has been successfully completed and the results have been presented at the Final Conference and final consortium meeting on November 28-30, 2019.
More than 60 representatives of youth associations, trade unions of administration and judiciary from the region, academia, institutions having in its portfolio topics of project, media, and other interested individuals were able to get acquainted with the work done and to exchange ideas and constructive proposals jointly developing further activities in the field of youth labor rights.
Mr. Zlatan Klokić, Minister of European Integration and International Cooperation of Republika Srpska, Mrs. Bojana Stanić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans’ and Social Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and Mr. Tobias Flessenkemper, Head of of the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade ubderlined the relevance of the topic and linking all present actors during their opening speeches.
In continuation, Mrs. Aleksandra Knežević, project coordinator presented achieved, starting from the fact that young person’s satisfaction with his/her work life is an important part of the overall life satisfaction and that satisfied worker is the most productive one. In line with this, consortium members carried out a series of activities aimed at information and education of young people about their labor rights, phenomena endangering them, and available mechanisms of protection.
During the conference, members of the consortium proudly emphasized their own contribution to these topics, showing concrete results as follows: a detailed regional analysis of the level of youth awareness/information on their rights in work environment; 24 peer educators trained for further transfer of knowledge and information on youth labor rights in their immediate environments; over 40 workshops attended by more than 600 young people who have learned this way about the project’s topics, but also shared their own experiences; 3.5 million people from different age groups tackled through a broad media campaign, who also get acquainted with the project messages.
However, particularly significant products, having a long-lasting value, which will be used even after a project lifetime are – 10 videos with frequently asked questions and answers in the field of youth labor rights, dynamic animation and a brochure “Guide throug youth labor rights, phenomena endangering them and available mechanisms of protection”. Their aim was to present to a young person, in an understandable and youth-friendly manner, all that constitutes his/her work environment today, offering informative material that tries to answer many of questions and concerns that young people face today after obtaining their first job. During the final conference, the products were presented in detail, and the attendees were informed how to reach the same by themselves.
Particularly dynamic part of the Conference was a panel discussion “On the Labor Rights of Youth from the Perspective of…” which presented reflections and attitudes of the representatives of institutions, trade union sector, media, international trade union community and youth sector. In addition to members of the consortium, Mr. Božo Marić, president of the Trade Union of Administration of Republika Srpska and Mrs. Aleksandra Knežević, this time in the role of human rights expert, Mr. Todor Skakić, representative of the Ministry within the Government of Republika Srpska, Mrs. Dušica Tasić, editor in Radio-Television of Serbia and Mr. Miodrag Pantović, engaged in the regional office of Solidarity project also participated in this discussion.
During the project, encompassing representatives of the youth, trade union and education sectors from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovakia, a series of constructive proposals for further work has been made – from the one that information should start already at highschool age till the one that other sectors should join as well, and this is a homework for consortium members in the months to follow. During the Conference, additional suggestions were made and on behalf of the consortium and trade unions involved, presented by Mr. Božo Marić, following interactive work in smaller groups.
“We have raised some very important questions – issues that on the long-term level can contribute to creation of a work environment tailored to the young person’s needs, and that is why it is up to us to continue imposing this topic as socially significant one for all actors who can contribute to concrete changes”, said Mrs. Aleksandra Knežević when closing the conference, adding that “partners have signed an agreement for a further cooperation and planned a number of joint projects, which is another proof that the consortium sees the end of this project exclusively as – a new beginning. The beginning of continuous and organized work on creating the conditions for quality life and work of young people in the Western Balkans, with the participation of all stakeholders from the community”.
Development Center for Youth, Trade Union of Administration of the Republic of Serbia, Trade Union of Administration of Republika Srpska, Trade Union of Administration and Justice of Montenegro, Trade Union of UPOZ of North Macedonia, Center for Advanced Studies of Southeast Europe, Trade Union Education Center, Coalition of Youth Organizations SEGA, Budva Foundation and YouthWatch will harmonize in the next days all materials collected and prepare findings and recommendations from the Final conference, as well as a plan of further action, which will encompass official institutions in the next phase, too.
The process itself and intensive communication with young people have shown that this issue is of great importance to youth and has a direct impact on their overall lives, which gives additional value to the project implemented by the consortium with the support of the European Union through the Erasmus+ program, KA2: Capacity Building in the Field of Youth/ Western Balkan Window – ant this was a clear message that marked the Final conference of the project “Rights at Work, Work on Rights”.