Union membership falls again

Written By: James Douglas
Published: June 16, 2017 Last modified: June 16, 2017

The overall membership of trade unions fell last year, and, allied with a growth in employment, union density also dropped again.

The key findings in the annual survey published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy were that around 6.2 million UK employees were trade union members, a 275,000 or 4.2% decrease on the year before.

The proportion of employees who were trade union members fell slightly to 23.5% from 24.7% the previous year, the lowest rate recorded since 1995.

Union membership levels in both public and private sectors fell, in the latter by 60,000 to around 2.6 million members. Employment growth outpaced growth in union membership.
The trade union wage gap, the percentage difference in average gross hourly earnings of union members compared with non-members, was 14.5% in 2016 in the public sector. The private sector trade union wage gap was 7.6%