Socialist Worker

More workers in unions

Issue No. 2356

More workers were members of trade unions in Britain last year than in 2011, according to new government figures.

Around 6.5 million workers were members of unions at the end of last year—a rise of 59,000 on the previous year.

This is the first rise in overall trade union membership since 2003.

The increase seems to be due to an increase in the number of people in work. The proportion of workers who are in unions has stayed the same—at around 26 percent in 2011 and 2012.

Most trade unionists work in the public sector. But the proportion of trade unionists who work in the private sector rose by 0.2 percent to 14.4 percent.

Some 63,000 more private sector workers were in unions last year compared to 2011, taking the total to 2.6 million. 

And women are more likely to be in unions than men. Some 29 percent of women workers were in unions last year compared to 23 percent of male workers.

The figures also showed that disabled workers are more likely to be in unions, as are black workers.

Unions reported growth in membership following the mass, coordinated pensions strike in November 2011.

When workers fight back they raise the confidence of others.


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What We Think
Tue 4 Jun 2013, 17:42 BST
Issue No. 2356
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