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Trade union membership statistics

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is responsible, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for publishing the National Statistics on trade union membership.

The latest trade union membership publication (PDF, 2.2 Mb)  contains annual estimates of trade union densities for employees and all workers from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Estimates are presented for the proportion of people in employment who are trade union members in both the United Kingdom and Great Britain, and for employees whose pay and conditions are affected by collective agreements. We also provide trade union densities by age, sex, ethnicity, income, full and part-time employment, sector, nation and region.

The 2011 publication (PDF, 2.2 Mb)  includes the following information

  • Trade union membership levels
  • Historical trade union membership levels from 1892 to 2009/10
  • Maps showing union density, union presence and collective agreements by region

The tables in this publication are also presented as an Excel spreadsheet which includes longer time series data at :

BIS - trade union membership statistics 2011 (XLS, 318 Kb)  

Previous trade union membership articles may also be downloaded from the links below.

Trade union membership statistics user survey

We would be very grateful if users could provide feedback on the trade union membership publication by completing our short survey.

BIS will be publishing the results of the survey on this web page later this year.

Email distribution list

To keep users of our publication informed of the latest developments relating to the statistics, we are setting up a user e-mail distribution list. If you wish to be added to the email distribution list to receive updates when a new release is published, or news about any other developments to the publication, then please let us know by contacting us at: 

General queries relating to trade union membership statistics

If you have any queries relating to trade union membership statistics, then please contact us using:

The UK Statistics Authority assessment on Statistics on Trade Union Membership

The UK Statistics Authority published its assessment report on Statistics on Trade Union Membership in April 2012. The report can be accessed via the link below. The report assesses the National Statistic release against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, and identified four enhancements which BIS needs to implement by July 2012:

  1. Further investigate and document the use made of the trade union membership statistics and seek to identify, and engage more with users outside BIS.
  2. Confirm that future changes to methods or classifications will be announced in advance of any publications.
  3. Publish more information about the quality of the trade union membership statistics, including information about the main sources of bias and other errors.
  4. Improve the commentary in Trade Union Membership so that it aids user interpretation of the statistics.

UKSA assessment on trade union membership statistics

Trade union membership and labour disputes statistics quality review

BIS and ONS carried out a Quality Review covering both the  trade union membership and labour disputes statistics in 2004-05. If you would like further information about the review, or an electronic copy of the final report, please contact us, using:

Previous trade union membership statistical publications and articles

Information on labour market statistics

Information on National Statistics, the Labour Market as well as relevant data can be obtained from the ONS website.


Guidance on employment law

BIS guidance on employment rights and responsibilities can be found on GOV.UK which has replaced Directgov and Business Link. Sign up for email alerts


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