Union resources

The aim of this project is to provide a comprehensive analysis of trade union resources since the late 1990s. The project examines on-balance sheet resources (e.g. subscription income, financial assets) and off- balance sheet resources (e.g. unions’ network of lay representatives, facility time paid for by employers). The focus is primarily on the aggregate picture for all unions, rather than on the position of individual unions, although the project will examine inter-union variance to some extent.


The project comprises secondary analysis of a range of data sources. On-balance sheet resources are identified from the annual returns provided by trade unions to the Certification Officer (CO) and published in the CO’s annual report. Off-balance sheet resources are identified from large-scale national surveys, including the Workplace Employment Relations Survey, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey and the British Social Attitudes Survey. These various sources are brought together to build up a picture of the current level of union resources, and how these have changed since the late 1990s.

Timescale, funder and partners 

The research is funded by the Trades Union Congress. It began in October 2013 and will be completed in December 2013. The work is being carried out in collaboration with Paul Willman, Professor of Management at the London School of Economics.  


"Strategy, Structure and Resourcing in UK Trades Unions" - Paper presented at the 2016 LERA Conference, San Francisco, 4th January 2016