The value of trade unions in Wales

Published date
A new study looks at the health and impact of the trade union movement in Wales.

Earlier this year we asked the Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) to take an independent and objective look at the trade union movement in Wales. The aim was to see:

  • What Welsh trade union membership looks like and how it has changed.
  • The ways in which Wales’ trade union landscape is unique.
  • The impact that trade unions have on workers’ lives.   

The final report, The Value of Trade Unions in Wales, has now been published and it is a really timely and important examination of the available Welsh facts and figures – and where there isn’t any Welsh data the document also draws on UK and international research.

The study highlights the essential role that trade unions have in political and economic life in Wales.

As the WCPP writes:

Wales performs better than most of the UK. As a percentage of the population, there are more members, more recognition agreements, more pro-trade union managers, more union consultations, and more agreement by managers that trade unions improve organisational performance.

Importantly, the report also highlights the role collective bargaining in Welsh workplaces can play in:

  • Driving wages up.
  • Driving wage inequality down.
  • Improving job quality.
  • Tackling the gender pay gap.
  • Creating more equal workplaces.

This is why strengthening the voice of the workforce is central to our campaign to make Wales a Fair Work Nation. Our aim is to redress the imbalance of power between individual workers and their employers and maximise the number of workers who can directly influence the terms and conditions of their employment through collective representation.

As the report notes of trade unions:

“Few other organisations have the capability to deploy such a wide array of instruments to tackle precarious work and improve outcomes.”

In coming weeks on this blog we’ll be looking in more detail at some of the specific issues and questions that the report raises.