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Membership Of Trade Unions Rises Four Years In A Row… But Is Still Only Half The Level Of The ‘Thatcher Years’

Sun Jun 06 2021

Public sector membership increases by 228,000 but private sector membership has decreased by 110,000

Trade Union membership has once again increased, for the fourth year in a row according to data from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

A recently released report shows that despite the COVID-19 pandemic bringing about an unprecedented economic downturn, trade union membership levels rose by 118,000 during 2020.

 

Despite a now four-year steady increase, that uptick only represents the rise of unionisation of workers in the public sector with 2020 seeing their membership levels rise by 228,000 bringing the total figure in the UK to four million.

However, the data has also shown a ‘significant fall’ of 110,000 members amongst private sector workers.

That’s the lowest level since the end of the 2000s, standing at a paltry figure of 2.5 million… it’s lowest level since its peak in 1979.

 

Statistics published over the last four years do show an overwhelming positive trend but still fall short of peak membership levels in 1979 of 13.2 million, just after Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.

 

Because of that steady decline over the last thirty years many have commented to say that trade union membership is in terminal decline, but the statistics released today seem to indicate otherwise.

Pandemic Causing Public Uncertainty

The post-COVID world is one burdened with challenges of job security and quality, which seems to be reflected in the thousands of people flocking to unions for support.

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Thousands have turned to unions during this crisis, to protect their jobs, defend their rights and keep their workplaces safe. Unions can play a key role in helping the country recover from this pandemic by supporting good, green jobs and working with employers to level up pay and conditions across Britain.

Frances O’Grady – TUC’s General Secretary

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Sun Jun 06 2021

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