Union membership up for first time in nearly 10 years

Trade
unions have increased their membership for the first time since before the
Labour Party was first elected in 1997.

The
number of UK employees who were union members rose to 7.42m – 29.1 per cent of
the working population – in the year to autumn 2003. This is the first rise
since 1995 when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) first compiled
records.

Unions
attribute the increase in membership to anger at government policies, coupled
with a willingness of union heads to fight for their members.

Mark
Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS),
said: "Workers are facing major problems and increasingly they are turning
to the unions to help them tackle these."

The
PCS has gained 7,500 members in government departments since the start of the
2004.

By Mike Berry

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