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Trade unions face challenges beyond membership numbers

It’s not just about signing up more members but adapting to the changing world of work

By Margaret Prosser  

Margaret Prosser's successor as General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O'Grady, marches in London. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

When I began as a trade union official, the movement had the highest membership rates in its history. More than 13m people were union members and we covered close to the majority of working people with a collective agreement to negotiate their terms and conditions.

Since that “heyday” we have slipped to our lowest numbers in recent memory. While there have been endless papers and articles on how to solve…

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