Flagging trade union membership in the UK could be revived with the TUC targeting new recruits among Eastern European workers.
The union group took part in one of Europe’s largest job fairs in Warsaw, Poland, last week, visited by an estimated 10,000 Polish jobseekers.
Wanda Wyporska, a TUC representative, said: “Hundreds of people were asking how to become union members and expressing an interest in signing up before coming to the UK.”
The interest generated will come as a relief to unions after a dramatic decline in membership over the past 30 years. Less than one-third of UK workers are union members today, compared with two-thirds of the workforce in the 1970s, according to government figures.
An estimated 600,000 workers from Eastern Europe have come to the UK since eight former eastern bloc states joined the EU in 2004. Thousands more are expected when Bulgaria and Romania join the EU in January 2007.
About 30 major UK employers attended the Polish event, including Tesco, transport company First Group and Macdonald Hotels & Resorts.