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Future Unions: Towards a membership renaissance in the private sector

New research – supported by a wide range of union leaders - sets out a radical plan to reverse the decline in trade union membership and boost pay in the private sector.


This report is the product of a programme of Fabian Society and Changing Work Centre research on the future of private sector trade unions. The report charts the decline of British trade unions from being the most powerful union movement in the world to one facing a fight to remain relevant – and it sets out key steps on the road to recovery.

The research included analysis of trade union membership trends, a face-to-face survey with 1,339 workers, a series of focus groups across the UK with non-unionised private sector workers between the ages of 18 and 35, and a consultation with trade union leaders, officers and lay representatives. The research was supported by an advisory group of leading trade unionists and experts.

Read the Guardian write up of the report >>>


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11 steps to stem trade union decline

15 November 2017

Membership in the private sector is less than a third of what it was at its peak, falling from 45 per cent to 13 per cent of the commercial workforce between 1979 and 2016. The key drivers of this change...

Changing Work Centre / Employment / Trade unions


Cameron Tait

Cameron Tait is head of the Changing Work Centre and senior research fellow at the Fabian Society.


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