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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 16:26 GMT
Women more likely to join union
Classroom assistant
Almost three in five public sector workers are union members
Women workers in the UK were more likely to belong to a trade union than men in 2005, government figures show.

They show 29.9% of women workers were union members in 2005. The proportion of men in unions fell to 28.2%.

Overall membership fell by 119,000 to 6.39m. Members' average pay was 11.98 an hour - 17.6% higher than non-union colleagues who averaged 10.19.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said job losses in manufacturing had hit union membership among men.

The figures, published by the Department of Trade and Industry, were based on Labour Force Survey data for autumn 2005.

They show that the rate of trade union membership among women lifted overall union density in the UK to 29% of employees.

Membership pays?

The figures also show that 58.6% of public sector employees in the UK were union members compared with just 17.2% of private sector workers.

Northern Ireland has the highest union density - 40.4% of employees - while in Wales it was 34.3% and Scotland 33.7%. In England, the figure was 27.9%.

Women workers are now more likely to be union members than men
Brendan Barber

Mr Barber said: "These are mixed figures. While this is only the second year that they show an increase in union density, continuing job losses in manufacturing have hit union membership among men.

"But unions are continuing to do well in recruiting women - and women workers are now more likely to be union members than men.

"And the figures show conclusively that workers are better off in a union.

"Union members earn 18% more than non-members an hour - worth 72 over a 40 hour week."

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