I was going through a report on the Conference of the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers which was held recently at Chennai on 16-18 August 2016. The report of the Credential Committee shows that a total of 256 delegates including visitors participated. In the age profile, Below 40 age, there are 37 delegates, 40-60 age there are 212 and above 60 years 7.

I was not surprised that most of the delegates are above 40 years. The young comrades are only 14%. This is not the case of the Confederation alone. In most of the conferences of service trade unions the case is similar.

In BSNLEU also the situation remains as such. The average age is about 53. Out of 2.10 lakh workers, there are only about 40,000 who have been recruited after 2000. Out of that, about  3,000 are regularised casual labours whose average  age is also high.

What are the reasons for the non-presence of youngsters? The main reason is that there are only very less new recruits. Recruitment is almost nil in government and Public Sector units as part of the government policy. Secondly, even the few new recruits are not much interested in the union activities. Third is that the Unions do not do much to bring the new recruits in to the field of activities.

I like to remember the situation about 50-60 years back, when I entered the P and T department in 1958. In the Telephone Exchange, Post Office, telegraph office,RMS office etc. almost 90% officials were new recruits with less than 5 years or so. The youth has got its vibrancy and freshness, though not experienced.

It was not different in the union meetings and conferences. More than 60-70% members and delegates used to be from the younger generation, say below 30. Attendance was more. Discussions were held with massive participation. The young wanted to know things and they expressed their opinions also. Demonstrations and processions were enthusiastic.

Yes! Young are energetic and are an asset to any organisation. I became Treasurer of the Branch union (E.III) in the second year of my service and branch secretary in the fifth year. Within four years I became the Divisional Secretary and within another four years, Asst. Circle Secretary and next Circle Secretary within another few years.It was not my case alone. The Department was expanding, more recruits were being appointed and the union was also growing. The membership of the union was also growing.

What is to be done in the present situation? We have to make all out efforts for new recruitment. Secondly, the new recruits should be made active in the union and given responsibilities. We should prepare the demands and activities considering the aspirations and  the mindset of the youngsters.

These are issues which require serious and active consideration of the leadership and those interested in the union activities.