350 people packed out the original Victoria St wing of Trades Hall to celebrate the launch of the Young Workers Centre on Wednesday night – but the actual work had started months ago.
Back in September, the Young Workers Centre team first came together with a vision to create a one-stop-shop combining education, information, legal assistance, and campaigning to end the exploitation of young people in Victoria. Stories were breaking regularly about young people being harassed and exploited at work – from dodgy Workchoices-era agreements that never got terminated to employers forcing workers to hand back half their pay.
Celebrating the launch of the Young Workers Centre with so many supporters was fantastic, but now it is time for the hard work to begin. As Young Worker Centre Coordinator Keelia Fitzpatrick said:
“To the lawyers in the room, we will need your legal expertise in tasks like our night service (we need practitioners to volunteer with this!) or during work hours if your employers permit.
To those at the bar, we’d love your help in court and at the Commission!
To the community legal centres in the room, we hope to work alongside you and establish referral pathways to ensure we meet the high demand for employment law assistance.
To the unions in the room, as always we ask for your solidarity in this project which is vital step for the future of organised labour.
To the NGOs in the room, we ask that you tell your communities of supporters about the Young Workers Centre and support and promote our campaigns, as we will yours
To our friends and young people in the room, we hope you’ll join us in the abundance of stunts, trainings, rallies, street stalls and outreach we’ll be doing in the coming years.”
If you can volunteer with the Young Workers Centre, let us know here.