Friday, 5 June 2015

Official Report Shows it Pays to be in a Union

OFFICIAL statistics shows the gap between the hourly earnings of union members and non-union members — the union premium — widened in 2014. 
Figures published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) for 2014 show the trade union wage premium, defined as the percentage difference in average gross hourly earnings of union members compared with non members, is 8.1% in the private sector and 21.6% in the public sector. 
This is an increase from 2013 when the gaps were 7.2 % in the private sector and 19.9% in the public sector.
For all employees, the premium widened slightly from 16.7% to 16.7% in favour of union members.
Other key findings in the annual survey were as follows:
* Membership. Around 6.4 million employees in the UK were trade union members in 2014. The level of overall union membership was broadly unchanged from 2013.
* Private Sector.  Union membership levels in the private sector rose for the fourth consecutive year — an increase of 38,000 on 2013 figure to 2.7 million. However, union density in 2014 was 0.2 percentage points lower than 2013 at 14.2% among private sector employees, as the growth in membership lagged behind the growth of casualised employment in the sector.
* Gender. Women continue to outnumber men in terms on union membership. In 2014, the breakdown was 3.55 million women and 2.90 million men.
Women accounted for 55.0% of membership in 2014 against 54.8% the year before. 
* Ethnicity Union density was highest in black or black British ethnic group at around 30% in 2014. The proportion of union members among employees in Asian, Asian British, Chinese, mixed and other ethnic groups was below the average of a quarter (25%) for all employees.
Higher proportions of female employees belonged to a trade union than males for all ethnic groups. The largest difference was within the black or black British group in 2014 where the proportion of female employees who belonged to a trade union was just over a third (34%), compared with around a quarter (24%) for male employees.
* Collective bargaining. Employees who worked in larger workplaces (50+ staff) were more likely to be in a trade union and were more likely to have a trade union present in the workplace. The proportion of employees who belonged to a trade union in larger workplaces was a third (33%) in 2014, compared with around one in six (16%) in small workplaces with less than 50 employees.
Employees in larger workplaces were also more likely to have their pay affected by a collective agreement. The proportion of employees who had their pay affected by a collective agreement was around two in five (39%) in larger workplaces, compared with one in seven (15%) in small workplaces.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Trade unions are essential for protecting workers’ interests. With 6.4 million members, unions are best placed to speak on behalf of working people, to combat growing inequality and help ordinary families through the crisis in living standards.
“Unions make workplaces better and safer places to work. Unionised workplaces are shown to be more protected from the impact of post-recession problems, such as shorter hours and lower pay — the union wage premium in the private sector increased to just over eight per cent. And union members are twice as likely to develop their skills than those in non-unionised workplaces.”
The BIS report can be downloaded at:-

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