Union density down slightly in 2004
Trade union density for employees in United Kingdom
In autumn 2004, the rate of union membership (union density) among all workers was 26.0 per cent, a fall of 0.6 percentage points compared with 2003. Union density among employees is higher, at 28.8 per cent, although this too has fallen from the 29.3 per cent seen in 2003.
Union density is slightly higher for women than for men and higher among older employees. More than a third of those aged 35 and over were union members, compared with a quarter of those aged 25 to 34. Also, full-time employees are more likely to be trade union members; 31.5 per cent compared with 21.1 per cent of part-timers.
There are large differences in union density among employees in the nations; the highest (39.3 per cent) was in Northern Ireland compared with the lowest (27.5 per cent) in England.
There are also large regional differences in the proportion of employees who are union members. Union density ranged from 22.8 per cent in the South East to 34.9 per cent in the North East.
Source: Labour Force Survey
Notes: The data are derived from the Trade Union Membership 2004 report published by DTI on 15 April 2005.
These LFS-based estimates are consistent with the population estimates published in spring 2003.
The LFS 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.
The Certification Officer for Trade Unions and Employers' Associations provides a second source of data, which goes back to 1975. This is available from the Department of Trade and Industry's website.