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Almost three in five (58.8 per cent) public sector employees in the...
Almost three in five (58.8 per cent) public sector employees in the

UK are union members, figures released today show. Public sector union density fell by 0.3 percentage points in 2004. Despite this fall in density the number

of public sector union members rose by approximately 138,000 in 2004,

as the size of the public sector grew.

A National Statistics publication, 'Trade Union Membership 2004' was

published today by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The report, which is based on Labour Force Survey date for autumn

2004, also had the following key findings:

* The number of trade union members in the United Kingdom and the

rate of trade union membership fell in autumn 2004, when compared

with autumn 2003.

* In autumn 2004 an estimated 6.78 million people in employment in

the United Kingdom were members of a trade union. This was a

decrease of 0.5 per cent or approximately 36,000 people, compared

with levels recorded in autumn 2003. As a result, the rate of union

membership fell by 0.6 percentage points from 26.6 per cent to 26.0

per cent of all people in employment.

* The number of employees who were trade union members in the UK fell

by approximately 11,000 to 6.51 million in autumn 2004, compared to

6.52 million in 2003. The rate of union membership fell by 0.5

percentage points, from 29.3 per cent in 2003 to 28.8 per cent of

employees in autumn 2004.

* Less than one in five (17.2 per cent) private sector employees in

the United Kingdom were union members in autumn 2004. Private sector

union density fell by 1.0 percentage point in 2004.

* The number of male employees in the UK who were union members fell

by approximately 54,000 in 2004, while female employees in trade

unions rose by approximately 42,000. Male union density fell by 0.9

percentage points to 28.5 per cent. For women union density decreased

by a smaller 0.2 percentage points to 29.1 per cent.

* Of the nations, Northern Ireland had the highest union density

(39.3 per cent of employees). In Wales it was 37.0 per cent, and in

Scotland 33.2 per cent. Union density was lowest in England (27.5

per cent).

* The hourly earnings of union members averaged£11.38 in autumn

2004, 17.1 per cent more than the earnings of non-union employees.

* Almost half of UK employees (48.4 per cent) were in a workplace

where a trade union was present. However, union presence was much

lower in the private sector (34.2 per cent) than the public sector

(84.7 per cent).

* The number of UK employees whose pay was covered by a collective

agreement was 7.23 million in autumn 2004, or 35.0 per cent of all



1. 'Trade Union Membership 2004' can be downloaded as a PDF file from

the following Department of Trade and Industry websites: or

2. Printed copies of this report can be ordered at no charge from

Publications@DTI either online, by phone or by email: Logon to and search using URN04/1017.

Alternatively call the DTI Publications Orderline on 0845 015 0010

(+44 0845 015 0010) and provide the URN, or email them at:

3. The publication presents estimates of trade union membership from

the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and includes the latest estimates for

autumn 2003. The publication uses data weighted to be consistent

with post-2001 Census population estimates. Note that some estimates

for previous years have been revised slightly because of this


4. The Labour Force Survey has collected data from individuals on

whether they are trade union members in the autumn quarter since

1992, and previously collected the information in the spring quarter

from 1989 to 1991.

5. The Certification Officer for Trade Unions and Employers'

Associations provides a second source of data on trade union

membership, which goes back to 1975. A time series is available from

the DTI website at:

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