State of the unions

The DTI has just released the latest statistics for trade union membership in the UK (2006).

The report is called Trade Union Membership 2006 by Heidi Granger and Martin Crowther.

Key findings include:

- Union density fell 0.6 per cent in the year 2005-2006

- Union density for all employed currently stands at 25.8 per cent
- For the third year in succession women represent the greater proportion of overall membership
- Northern Ireland has the highest union density (39.7 per cent); England the lowest at 27 per cent
- Within England density varies between 21.4 per cent in the South East compared to 38.9 per cent in the North East
- Only one in six private sector workers are in a union; collective agreements in this sector now cover less than 20 per cent of all employees
- 58.8 per cent of all public sector employees are in a union; collective agreements in this sector cover 69 per cent of all employees [not sure if this includes or excludes pay review bodies]
- Hourly earnings for union members is currently £12.43 per hour compared to £10.66 for non-union workers.

The TUC response of "running hard to stand still" can be found here.

2 comments:

Mark said...

One of the curious things about this year's report is that it doesn't (as far as I could see on a first read) include any estimate of trade union membership numbers (as opposed to density). Although this figure was always a bit dodgy as it was scaled up from Labour Force Survey statistics, it has been there in reports for previous years.
Incidentally, it is depressing to note that union density is now lower than at any time since just after the 1926 general strike.
Incidentally, on a more general note, keep up the excellent work with this blog. Definitely on my favourites list.

James said...

I agree, Mark, in that actual membership levels only tells so much.

The rapid expansion of certain service industries (particularly in the form of part-time and casual employment) that have always been difficult to unionise is not the best measure of TU strength and resilience.