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The rise of the union in 2019

An increase in membership suggests that trade unions are starting to appeal to a new generation of workers who appreciate having advice and support in the workplace.

According to the most recent statistical bulletin for trade unions from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the number of employees who were trade union members in 2018 rose to 6.35 million – an increase of 103,000 from 2017.

This increase has to be viewed in the context of an overall level of union membership that is at its lowest point since the 1940s. However, it still supports the union view that efforts to increase their visibility in environments where they are not recognised by employers are bearing fruit.

Carl Roper, national organiser at the Trades Union Congress, says member unions have reviewed their organising strategies to ensure they are flexible enough for workers in the gig economy. Unions such as the GMB and Unite have pursued successful legal campaigns for employment rights with firms including Uber and Deliveroo.

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 280, December 2019.

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