New EU Members? Migrant Workers’ Challenges and Opportunities to UK Trades Unions: a Polish and Lithuanian Case Study

Published 1 January 2008 / By Bridget Anderson, Nick Clark, Violetta Parutis

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This research report, conducted in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC), explores the kinds of difficulties experienced by Polish and Lithuanian workers in the labour market, and their potential for joining trades unions. It was motivated by the accession of the "A8" countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) to the European Union on 1 May 2004, which allowed workers from these nations to work in the UK, so long as they registered their employment with the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS). The research sought to identify who among registered Polish and Lithuanian workers in the UK joined a trades union and why; what the obstacles were to joining a trades union; the sectors in which prospective union members were working; and the kinds of difficulties that Polish and Lithuanian workers faced in their employment relations and conditions.


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