The number of unionized employees has fallen sharply

Posted 2 Feb. 2023 at 06:36 PMUpdated Feb 2. 2023 at 06:51 PM

With the social movement against the pension reform, the unions are very prominent. This boosts their membership, if we are to believe the leader of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, who has just announced a 30% increase in their number in January. Could the conflict produce a return of employees to the unions?

This would be good news for employee organizations in view of the statistics on unionization just published by the Ministry of Labor, while the Covid epidemic was accompanied by a drop in membership. In 2013, the ministry carried out an initial study on a large sample of employees, which concluded that the unionization rate was 11%. After some twenty-five years of decline, the proportion of union members “would have been stable since the mid-1990s”, she pointed out then.

18.4% union members in the public

The downward movement has since resumed, shows a new study published on Wednesday. “In 2019, 10.3% of employees said they belonged to a trade union organization”, according to this work. While the culture of union commitment is much stronger in the public sector than in the private sector, it is among civil servants that the drop in union membership is most marked. The proportion of unionized agents rose from 19.8% in 2013 to 18.4% in 2019.

This downward trend affected executives more than the other categories, as well as local authorities, where the drop reached almost 2 points. State agents remained in 2019 by far the most unionized with a rate of some 23%, against 15.6% in the hospital public service and 14.1% in the territorial public service.

7.8% union members in the private sector

The proportion of employees encartes in a union, much lower in the private sector, has also decreased there, even if it is more weakly, going from 8.7% to 7.8%. In companies, this reduction concerned more intermediate professions. Conversely, the rate of unionization of executives continued to increase in companies, rising from 7.2% to 7.9%, an element to be related to the increase in the audience of the CFE-CGC.

In 2019 as in 2013, the unionization rate made a big difference between the sectors. Transport, down, went from 18% to 16.5%. They have lost first place to the benefit of financial and insurance activities, which, on the contrary, experienced strong growth, increasing from 12.9% to 16.9%. Still third, the industry lost 1.3 points to 10.9%.

Note also an increase in unionization in an activity traditionally little unionized: accommodation and catering, which goes from 4.1% of inserts to 5.9% while the construction industry at the same level in 2013 sees, him, its union membership fell further to 3.4%.

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