One-in-ten are union members: trade union membership increases from 6.6 million to 6.7 million

Union membership increased by 1% between 2019/20 and 2020/21

22 Jul 2022| News

According to the latest Certification Officer’s Annual Report, trade union membership in the UK increased slightly in the period 2019/20 tp 2020/21, from 6.6 million to 6.7 million, representing a 1% rise. This now means that one-in-ten of the population is a member of a union.

Sarah Bedwell’s report contains details activities in relation to:

  • The lists of trade unions and employers’ associations
  • The review of the lists
  • Financial and membership information from the annual returns
  • Complaints from trade union members
  • Trade unions’ political funds
  • Implementation of the Trade Union Act 2016

The Annual Report also notes that total trade union funds were down 4% from £1.72 billion in 2019-20 to £1.65 billion in 2020-2021. In contrast, the total value of political funds were up 24% from £42 million in 2019-20 to £52 million in 2020-2021.

3 trade unions were added to the list of trade unions and employers associations. This is from the report:

1. National Union of Professional Foster Carers (NUPFC)

The union was entered on the list on 19 August 2021. Its members are largely foster care workers. My predecessor had previously determined that the NUPFC could not be listed as a trade union because case law had established that foster carers were not workers, and so the organisation could not meet the first limb of the statutory definition, that it be made up wholly or mainly or workers. The NUPFC appealed that decision, first to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and then to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found that for the purpose of s1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, the definition of worker in Section 296(1) should extend to persons who are parties to a foster care agreement with a fostering service provider within the meaning of regulation 27 (5) of the Fostering Service (England) Regulations 2011. This led to me receiving a fresh application from the NUPFC to be listed and that application being approved.

2. UK Private Hire Drivers Union

The union was entered on the CO’s list on 12 August 2021. Its members are largely app-based transport workers. The union joins a number of other trade unions representing workers in this sector. The increase in organisations appear to be as a result of recent decisions in the higher courts on the status of gig economy workers such as Uber drivers.

3. Equal Justice The Union

The union was entered on the CO’s list on 22 September 2021. It aims to represent workers from ‘discriminated against groups’. As reported last year, we have seen an increase in applications from organisations seeking to represent workers from specific cultural or ethnic groups or with links to particular regions of the world

You can read the full report here.