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Welsh Trade Union Membership Grows

August 24 2008 - The Department for Business (BERR) has released figures showing trade union membership in Wales grew by nearly 6,000 members (1.5%) in 2007. This is greater than any other UK nation and reflects similar growth in the previous year.

The statistics show that more women than men joined a trade union in Wales during the year. There was also a significant increase in part-time working members. The figures were resoundly welcomed by the Wales TUC.

Derek Walker, Wales TUC Head of Policy and Campaigns commented:

"These figures show trade union members are earning more than non-members, a decade of stable union membership, and our own figures show that the rise in membership in unions belonging to the TUC is the largest in a decade.

"This increase is almost certainly the result of the huge resources unions have put in to reaching out to workers, delivering work place learning and consolidating our role as key social partners representing the interest of working people across all of Wales.'

"Unions have continued to put on members amongst managerial and professional staff, and during the last year have stepped up their efforts to organise and support Britain's two million vulnerable workers.'

"The challenge for unions now is to build on our membership base, particularly among young workers - and with more people in work than ever before, unions need to do all they can to recruit and organise working people in every economic sector."

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) figures published by BERR, total union membership across the UK has changed little in the last 10 years - from 7,427,000 in 1995 to 7,411,000 in 2007. However, both TUC and Certification Officer figures show an increase in membership in 2007-2008.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

"It's good to see union membership holding steady despite this year's major economic difficulties, and my advice to workers worried about further shocks to the economy would be to join a union as soon as they can. If nothing else, these figures show trade union members tend to earn more than non-members, earning an average of 12.74 an hour compared to 11.02 an hour.

"The figures show a decade of stable union membership. Our own figures are slightly more optimistic and show that the rise in membership in unions belonging to the TUC is the largest in a decade. This increase is almost certainly the result of the huge resources unions have put in to reaching out to young workers - the next generation of union members.

"Membership amongst women continues to rise (half a million more women have become members since 1995) and women are now just as likely to be union members as their male colleagues. Unions have continued to put on members amongst managerial and professional staff, and during the last year have stepped up their efforts to organise and support Britain's two million vulnerable workers.

"The challenge for unions now is to increase the number of trade union members, and with more people in work than ever before, unions need to do all they can to recruit and organise members, especially in the private sector."


 


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