From the TUC

Organising Motion at Congress

17 Sep 2009, By

TUC Congress has carried the following motion on Trade Union membership:

Congress notes with concern that in 2008 trade union membership levels and union density in the UK both declined. Private sector union density fell by 0.6 per cent to 15.5 per cent and public sector union density fell by more than three times this rate – declining by 1.9 per cent. Less than half of UK employees are in a workplace where a trade union is present, and unionisation of younger workers has fallen over the past decade.

However, union membership levels and density are higher for women than for male workers and there continues to be a wage premium for union members.

Congress is further concerned that the recession will continue to intensify pressures on current and future membership levels and calls on the General Council to:

i)        investigate the scope for a TUC gateway to union membership to facilitate recruitment of non-members and support membership transfers when individuals change their employment

ii)      continue to publicise the practical value of trade union membership (higher pay, safer employment) to potential members, particularly those entering the workforce for the first time

iii)    convene discussions with affiliates on a sectoral basis to determine the scope for co-ordinated recruitment and organising campaigns

iv)    work with unions to build and share knowledge and capacity to organise and to improve density in the private sector and public sectors

v)      enhance work with the National Union of Students and with schools and colleges to raise students’ awareness of the value of union membership

vi)    investigate the scope for incentivising students to join unions following their period of study

vii)  raise the profile of policy work that demonstrates the value of unions to civil society e.g. on climate change and quality public services.

The General Council is instructed to report back to Congress in 2010 on progress made in relation to each of these objectives.