More Australians join unions, and get more money!
Amid this week’s doom and gloom, here’s some good news from down under. Government data from August 2009 shows that union density increased from 19% to 20% over the preceding year, despite the global recession and the fact that the former Howard Government’s industrial relations laws were still in place, with 82,000 more workers in unions, taking the figure to 1.9 million in a workforce of 9-10 million. The strongest gains were among male full-time workers, and density rose in both the public and private sectors. Figures also show that the “union premium”, the extra amount in wages that union members earn compared to non-members, is now AU$145 a week.
Jeff Lawrence, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) said:
“The lift in union membership is very encouraging. It shows working Australians are turning to unions to improve their living standards. They know that being an active member of a union and bargaining collectively is the best way to improve their wages and conditions. There has always been a pay bonus for union members and this year’s ABS data shows an enormous 51% increase in the union wage advantage.”