Trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage: Four options

This note investigates  the relationship between trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage in 21 countries. It is based on WageIndicator data collected in 2008 and 2009.

Four options for employees are compared:

  1. employees being both trade union members and covered by collective agreement
  2. employees covered by collective bargaining but not being a union member
  3. employees being trade union members but not covered by collective bargaining
  4. employees not being trade union member and not covered by collective bargaining

The investigation shows that:

  • option 1 is the most common option among employees in Finland and Sweden.
  • option 2 is most common in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Indonesia.
  • option 3 is not very common in any of the 21 countries.
  • option 4 is by far the most common option option in most Latin American countries, the Czech Republic and the UK.

You can find the exact figures for every country in the note. The investigation involves: Mexico, Guatemala, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Finland, Sweden, UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Spain, Mozambique, South Africa and Indonesia.

Download PDF:
Van Klaveren, M., Tijdens, K. (2010). Trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage: Four options. WageIndicator, University of Amsterdam / Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS). (260 kB)


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