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Union membership is on the rise—so why aren’t young people as involved?

Overall increases mask low participation in the private sector and among young people

By Margaret Prosser  

Photo: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images

There is much to celebrate within trade unions as this year’s membership figures show an overall increase of around 102,000 new members. In spite of headlines prophesising doom for UK trade unions it’s the second year in a row that membership has grown, and the second largest rise on record. The total figure now stands at 6.35m workers. In the public sector alone, we have 149,000 new recruits. Good news indeed.

But wait. An overall growth of 102,000 with 149,000 in the public…

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