This article analyses how youth structures at the confederal level of trade unions are influencing the union agenda in the face of the growing problem of youth unemployment in Europe. Five youth structures from union confederations in Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden have been studied. Although youth structures were already able to influence the union agenda in certain confederations before the crisis, the evidence demonstrates that youth issues have gained prominence today. A particular pattern discernible across countries is coalition-building between youth structures and student organizations for guiding the transition of the next generation of young workers from school to the labour market. More generally, youth structures’ possibilities for action can be explained not only by the confederations’ age composition and changing systems of union governance, but also by the specific national socio-economic context and political opportunity structures.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kurt_vandaele/111/