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Trade union membership continues to rise

Trade union membership continues to rise

Union membership has risen for the third year in a row according to Victoria University’s Industrial Relations Centre annual survey of trade union membership.

Approximately 335,000 New Zealand workers now belong to unions, a rise of 10.7% (or 32,400 people) over the three years to December 2002, ahead of a labour force growth of 6.9% for the same period.

Union density for the year to December 2002 was calculated as 21.7% of wage and salary earners.

Professor Pat Walsh, Director of the Industrial Relations Centre at Victoria University, says membership growth continues to be strongest in the public sector with health, education and core government unions recording solid increases.

“In fact, our research on collective bargaining is starting to show that membership and bargaining are increasingly a public sector phenomenon,” he says.

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