Trade unions will shrink to ten percent of manufacturing workforce, warns report
25 Jan 2021
Membership of trade unions will shrink to one in ten of manufacturing employees, with poential implications for worker safety says a new report.
Management solutions provider Mitrefinch predicts that by 2040, just 9.39% of manufacturing workers will be in a trade union.
The figure has already halved since 1995. Today 17% of the manufacturing sector is unionised, compred to 35% in the transport sector.
A spokesperson said the implications were worrying, particularly in the light of the third pandmic lockdown when many in the industry have continued to work.
Unions recently intervened in the Government’s package of measures set out to support workers through the crisis, insisted Mitrefinch and have historically played a major role in improving manufacturing employees' rights.
Employment law solicitor at Richard Nelson LLP James Powell commented:
“Workplaces with trade unions were found to have lower injury rates than those who manage their safety without a union in place. Unions can also play a significant role in reducing long working hours, bullying incidents, or poor quality working environments.
Declining membership would deprive unions of influence to make changes for their existing members and they would be able to secure fewer negotiations since they do not have the same level of bargaining power, he stated.
Mitrefinch commercial director Julie Lock added the analysis demonstrated a worrying decline in the percentage of manufacturing employees engaging with trade unions across the UK.
“With the support which trade unions can provide to employee wellbeing and engagement, this decline in data points to signs that employees may soon be navigating this alone.
"It is important for manufacturing firms to continue to support the wellbeing of their employees in these sectors where trade unions are becoming less prevalent, especially with the additional worry which the pandemic has caused for workforces across the UK.”