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News Media Releases Union membership on the increase in WA and across the country
Union membership on the increase in WA and across the country
Thursday, 13 May 2010 08:16

WA’s peak union body has welcomed ABS figures released today that show union membership has increased by almost 20% in WA in the year to August 2009.

Union membership is now at 17.2% of WA employees - an increase in density of nearly 3%. This is up from 14.3% in August 2008. Nationally union density has risen to 20%.

The ABS figures also demonstrate that union members continue to earn more on average than non-union members. The mean weekly earnings around Australia for union members are $145 higher per week than for their non-union counterparts.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said the figures were very encouraging. “A larger number of union members means that more workers are better placed to benefit from the resources boom and the economic recovery generally. Workers joining together to negotiate pay and conditions through their union ensures better workplaces and a fairer society.

“As well as fairer rates of pay and entitlements unionised workplaces are three times safer than non-unionised work places. We’re especially pleased to see a significant increase in unionised workers in the mining industry as we have very serious concerns about safety and conditions in this industry.”

Ms McGurk acknowledged that while these figures showed a significant increase in union membership and density, there is still a long way to go. “Unions are still recovering from the effects of John Howard’s unfair WorkChoices legislation which denied many workers fair access to union representatives. There are still significant barriers to accessing workers in many regions, particularly on some of the large resource projects. These issues of work place representation and right of entry must be addressed as research shows that many unrepresented workers will join their union if given an opportunity.”

For comment, please contact Simone McGurk 0407 199 890   UnionsWA 08 9328 7877 

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