Alongside a new leaflet aimed at encouraging workers who have never thought about joining a union to do so, and a guide to show union reps how to research the employers they deal with, the TUC has also released a new report claiming the positive advantages unions bring to the UK economy.
The Union Advantage claims union members get higher wages, better sickness and pension benefits, are much more likely to be able to take advantage of flexible working and are able to take more annual leave.
The report cites official statistics showing that workers in a union earn 12.5% more an hour than employees in a non-unionised workplace, taking home average hourly earnings of £13.07 compared with £11.62.
The TUC reports the presence of a union is likely to push training up the workplace agenda, encouraging members to take up courses to improve their skills, which their company can then benefit from in the form of improved productivity.
The Union Advantage also says unions and safety reps help make workplaces safer and reduce the chances of employees becoming ill because of stress, bullying and other workplace hazards. And as well as winning a better deal for their members, unions can also save the employers a lot of time, hassle and money, says the TUC.
Commenting on the new materials, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber (pictured) said: "These are tough times for workers and unions alike and now more than ever workers need the protection of a union. Our leaflet sets out in simple terms just why workers should sign up and start to benefit from the wealth of advantages that membership brings.
"And it's not just employees who stand to gain from being involved with a union. Employers who work closely with union reps know only too well the benefits of having experts in safety, learning and employment law at close call for advice and help should the need arise."