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Trade Union Membership
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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)


    The Trade Union Members topic is provides details of social and demographic characteristics of union members and non-members who are employees in their main job. The topic is collected as part of the Employment Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership survey


    This survey is the only reliable source of data on the distribution of trade union members by state, industry, occupation, employment status and other labour market characteristics of persons according to whether they are trade union members. The data are also extremely useful for understanding the industrial relations characteristics of particular industries and sectors.


    This survey is conducted as part of the Monthly Population Survey, which comprises the Labour Force Survey and, in most months, a supplementary survey topic.

    SCOPE - Labour Force Survey

    The Labour Force Survey includes all persons aged 15 and over except:

    • members of the permanent defence forces;
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations;
    • overseas residents in Australia; and
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

    From July 1993 Jervis Bay Territory is also excluded from the scope of the survey. Before July 1993 it was included in estimates for the Australian Capital Territory.

    SCOPE - Trade Union membership

    The scope of this survey was the same as that used for the Labour Force Survey, except that it is restricted to persons who were aged 15 and over and employees in their main job excluding persons who worked solely for payment in kind. Students at boarding school, some patients in hospitals and sanatoriums and inmates of reformatories, goals, etc., persons aged 15 to 20 still at school were also excluded.

    From July 1997, all supplementary surveys excluded persons in remote and sparsely settled areas of Australia. The exclusion of these persons has only a minor effect on estimates for individual States or Territories.

    COVERAGE - Labour Force Survey

    In the Labour Force Survey, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection. The chance of a person being enumerated at two separate dwellings in the one survey is considered to be negligible.

    Persons who are away from their usual residence for six weeks or less at the time of interview are enumerated at their usual residence (relevant information may be obtained from other usual residents present at the time of the survey).


    Conceptual framework

    The Trade Union Members survey provides a measure of employees in main job and their trade union membership status.

    Main outputs

    Results of the survey including data tables and analysis were released in publication format, and include the following tables:



    Time series from 1990

    Full-time or part-time status and sex

    Industry and sex

    Age, whether children under 15 present and sex


    Industry and sex

    Occupation and sex


    Standard employment benefits received and sex

    Superannuation coverage, full-time or part-time status and sex


    Demographics: State, Area, Region, Sex, Marital Status, Relationship in Household, Period of Arrival and Age.

    Country of Birth: The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC).

    Occupation: Australian Standard Classification of Occupations Second Edition (ASCO SE).

    Industry: Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).

    Other concepts (summary)

    Not applicable

    1. National & State/Territory\1.01 Australia
    1. National & State/Territory\1.02 All States & Territories
    2. Parts of State\2.12 Other Geographic Areas\2.12.03 Part of State Metropolitan
    2. Parts of State\2.12 Other Geographic Areas\2.12.04 Part of State-Extra Metropolitan

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    Not all data available for all areas.


    Frequency comments

    Trade Union Members publications:
    First issued November 1976. Next issue collected March to May 1982 then data collected and published in Trade Union Members (ABS Cat. No. 6325.0), August 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1996. Data are also available in August 1993 and August 1995 in Weekly Earnings of Employees (ABS Cat. No. 6310.0) or Working Arrangements (ABS Cat. No. 6301.0), Australia publications, and also in Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership (ABS Cat. No. 6310.0).


    Initial cycle - November 1976

    March to May 1982.

    Biennially since August 1986.

    Annually since 1993.


    Data availability comments

    This data is collected as part of Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 6310.0)

    19/04/2002 01:23 PM

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