New Website for WISERD Civil Society Project: Trade Union Membership, Associational Life and Wellbeing

Today WISERD launches its new webpages related to the research programme on trade unions within the WISERD Civil Society Centre:

‘Declining levels of trade union membership is often cited as evidence that trade unions have become less relevant within the modern UK economy.  However, previous WISERD research into geographical variations in trade union membership (see here) revealed that union membership in Wales remains higher than would be expected given the current industrial composition of employment,’ says Rhys Davies member of this new research team, ‘The project will build on this earlier research to investigate how geographical variations in membership levels can be attributed to differences in the nature and activities of trade unions, the attitudes of employers, geographical mobility and the inter-generational transmission of union membership.

“The webpages present emerging findings from the project.  Our first blog post reveals some problems regarding official estimates of union membership in the UK.  Whilst the presence of downward trends in union membership is not open to debate, there are many more workers in the UK who are affected by unionisation than one might think based upon a casual glance at the official statistics.  New analysis also investigates trade union membership among the migrant community.  The results reveal that membership among migrants from those countries that joined the EU following the 2004 and 2007 enlargements is approximately a third of the UK average.  We hope these early findings will be of interest to researchers, the wider community of union officials, members and others who have an interest in the role of trade unions within society.’

The project is part of the programme of research under the WISERD Civil Society Centre: a five year, multi-disciplinary programme of policy relevant research addressing Civil Society in Wales, the UK and Internationally.

For further details of the research programme, please visit