Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Trade union statistics 2015 - where are we going?

Perhaps the most interesting contribution at today's meeting of UNISON's National Executive Council (NEC) was from the Assistant General Secretary who drew to our attention the recent publication of the official statistics linked to on the link above.

Regular readers of this blog (Sid and Doris Blogger) will recollect that I am interested in data about the state of our labour movement (and if you don't share that interest you are probably in the wrong corner of the Internet right now). It is worth reading the whole of the official document - but in case you don't...

In a nutshell, trade union membership in the United Kingdom in the past year has been static - an insignificant increase in total membership has failed to keep pace with a proportionately greater increase in the total number of employees so that trade union density (the proportion of the workforce who are unionised) has continued its gentle decline.

Given the onslaught upon jobs in unionised sections of the economy, this "holding on" is hardly unimpressive. It shows the resilience of our workers' movement and the continuing commitment to collectivism on the part of a not insignificant minority.

However, union density in the (growing) private sector remains well below that in the (shrinking) public sector - and it hardly augers well for our future that we fifty-somethings ‎ are far more heavily unionised than young workers aged between sixteen and twenty four.

As has been the case for some years, in spite of the vicious (and generally successful) attacks upon the standard of living (and rights) of workers by the ruling class, our trade unions have not suffered a decisive defeat as we did in the 1980s.

On the other hand - - perhaps because of the approach of (in effect) "battening down the hatches" and "keeping our powder dry" which (to mix metaphors) has avoided such a decisive defeat - we have not broken out of our marginalisation and relative decline.

The time is right for a new start, for new imagination and for new enthusiasm. I hope that those at UNISON Conference will find that they have an opportunity to think further about this at 7pm on the evening of Tuesday 21 June.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

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