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Trade union membership falls to all-time low in Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 16.05.2013 08:09
Only 10 percent of employees are members of a trade union in Poland, the lowest figure recorded since the fall of communism in 1989, finds a new survey.

Trade unionism declines in Poland: photo - Flickr/dielinkebw

In 1991, 19 percent of workers were also members of trade unions such as Solidarity or OPZZ.

Just one-in-three respondents told a CBOS survey taken in April that there was a trade union active in their workplace and just 16 percent told the pollster that they thought that unions were effective in advancing workers' pay and conditions.

Prof. Juliusz Gardawski from Warsaw School of Economics told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily that the declining numbers of employees joining trace unions showed a “sense of helplessness” among Poland's workforce.

“Once, people joined a trade union to make a political statement and gain a sense of belonging: today we regard them as a form of insurer,” Gardawski said.

The decline in union membership in Poland mirrors the situation in western European countries, where de-industrialisation and changes in labour laws have affected membership negatively, says the professor.

The heyday of Polish trade unionism was during the 1980s, when the newly created Solidarity, the first independent trade union in the communist bloc, boasted 10 million members out of a population of just under 40 million. (pg)

tags: trade unions
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