Trade union Mladi plus (‘Youth Plus’)

We are a trade union which represents students, pupils and unemployed youth (up to 35 years). We protect their rights and interests by aiming to ensure decent work, improve working conditions for precarious workers and spread awareness of the importance of trade-unionism and labour movement among youth.

We provide our members with:

• help regarding problems during studies and (un)employment;
• counselling (legal aid and career counselling);
• courses and workshops on decent work, equal rights, workers’ rights, future of work etc. (also open for broader public).

Trade Union Mladi plus was formed in June 2011 when two very different groups – students and trade unionists – came together as a result of campaign against the so-called ‘malo delo’ or ‘Mini work’, a form of marginal part-time employment, similar to the German concept of ‘mini job’, that Slovenian government wanted to introduce as a reform of the student labour market. Six years later we have around 1500 members, who are on average 25 years old, and are just finishing their studies or are currently unemployed. One of our biggest successes is that, by leading a broader coalition, we managed to ban unpaid internships in Slovenian public sector.

List of our main activities includes:

•  addressing important issues through our work, such as precariousness, poverty, green economy, gender, digitalization;
•  empowering and educating our members about trade unionism, concept of decent work, workers’ rights and so on;
•  proposing changes of the pension law;
•  sharing information about work and employment, while warning of irregularities and breaches of the current system;
•  promoting active citizenship among youth (through trade unionism);
•  attending different protests and manifestations: against CETA, in support of refugees, against privatization, etc.

Protest against ‘Mini work’ labour market reform

Trade union Mladi plus is its own legal entity (unlike so-called youth committees, organizational structures that we can usually find in trade unions all around the world). Our own independent status brings us several advantages, such as complete autonomy and the possibility of applying for funds via different channels.

Trade union Mladi plus is affiliated with Association of free trade unions of Slovenia (ZSSS), the biggest trade union association in the country. We have therefore had the opportunity to be part of social dialogue process in Slovenia and have quickly gained access to decision making processes on national level. Trade union Mladi plus is also some kind of a hybrid – not only are we a trade union, we have since 2014 gained an official status of youth organization working in the public interest in Slovenian youth sector. The advantage of combining the role of a trade union and a youth organization at the same time gives us a crucial position not only in the field of youth employment but also in shaping of youth policies on a national level.

Some of the Trade Union Mladi plus activists at May 1 celebration

When it comes to our work we try to be innovative, funny and educational, therefore we started to carry out certain online actions which have turned out to be quite a success.

Two examples:

‘Giving back pumpkins’: in Slovenian the expression ‘Selling pumpkins’ is being used to express outrage at someone who is telling lies or making false statements. The concept of our online action is to be aware of and monitor public statements regarding youth, employment, decent work and similar topics. If a certain authority figure – prime minister, MP, neoliberal employer for example – states something that is untrue, we make a photoshop picture of him or her, accompanied with pumpkins and disprove the statement. So in essence we return pumpkins (people’s lies and false claims) back to the ones that made them in the first place. Check out our Pumpkins Facebook album (in Slovenian) to get a visual impression: http://bit.ly/2lBkZJE

Slovenian PM Miro Cerar and his ministerial team with pumpkins 🙂

Stop violations!: we regularly monitor job ads and search for those that indicate different violations. We have noticed numerous job ads on Slovenian job market where a full time employment should be offered but self-employed workers or workers in other atypical forms of employment are wanted instead. Gender and age discrimination are also common. We report these jobs ads to the labour inspectorate and inform the employers about them and share them on our social media channels in order to raise awareness among young people.