trade unions, wages

Trade Union Membership and Influence 1999-2009

In this presentation, made at a DBIS seminar on trade union membership, we analyse the continued decline of trade unions and examine the possible implications for workers, employers, and unions themselves. The research focuses particularly on the fortunes of trade unions in the decade or so since New Labour first came to power. It assesses the extent and nature of changes in union membership and bargaining coverage since the late 1990s, and also examines trends in union effects on wages, non-wage benefits and workplace performance.

Trade Unions

We analyse the continued decline of trade unions and examine the possible implications for workers, employers, and unions themselves.

Union effects on wages

A primary goal of trade unions is to maintain and improve workers' terms and conditions, particularly workers who are members of the union, through collective bargaining with employers. Whether unions are successful depends, in large part, on their bargaining strength Ð which is based on their ability to restrict the supply of labour to the employer Ð and the ability of employers to concede above-market wages (Freeman and Medoff, 1984).