Australian Bureau of Statistics

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6325.0 - Trade Union Members, Australia, August 1996  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/02/1997  Ceased
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP

In August 1996, 31% of Australia's 7,062,100 employees aged 15 years and over were trade union members (in connection with their main job).

Declining membership continues

The proportion of employees who were trade union members in connection with their main job has been steadily declining since August 1986. Between August 1986 and August 1996, the level of trade union membership reported by employees declined by around one-third (15 percentage points).


TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP 1986-96
MalesFemalesPersons
August'000%'000%'000%
19861,685.150908.8392,593.946
19881,640.246895.7352,535.942
19901,683.845975.8352,659.641
19921,536.143972.7352,508.840
19931,437.741939.2332,376.938
19941,375.838907.5312,283.435
19951,349.736902.0292,251.833
19961,307.534886.8282,194.331

The largest decrease for any two-year period was recorded between 1992 and 1994 (five percentage points), with the 1986-88 and 1994-96 periods recording decreases of four percentage points. The smallest decrease recorded was for 1990-92 at one percentage point.

For both males and females there was a four percentage point drop between 1986 and 1988. While union membership remained steady at 35% between 1988 and 1992 for females, membership levels fell three percentage points for males (from 46% to 43%) over the same period. From 1992, a marked fall in membership levels was apparent for both males and females.
PROPORTION OF ALL EMPLOYEES WHO WERE TRADE UNION MEMBERS, AUGUST 1986 TO AUGUST 1996

Membership in the public sector decreased from 67% in 1990 to 55% in 1996. For private sector employees the rate declined from 31% in 1990 to 24% in 1996.

Between 1992 and 1996, membership levels fell nine percentage points to 35%, and for part-time employees three percentage points to 22%. The mining industry recorded the largest decrease in membership levels (falling 24 percentage points to 39% between 1990 and 1996), while
retail trade recorded the smallest decrease over the same period (two percentage points to 23%).


Age of members

In August 1996, employees aged 55-59 years had the highest rate of trade union membership (39%). The highest rate for part-time employees was recorded for employees aged 35-44 years (26%), whilst for full-time employees the highest rate was recorded for employees aged 55-59 years (45%).

State/Territory membership

In August 1996, Tasmania had the highest level of trade union membership at 39%, followed by South Australia with 35%. The Northern Territory had the lowest membership rate at 23%.

Industry

In August 1996, the highest rates of trade union membership were recorded in the Electricity, gas and water supply industry (70% of male employees and 38% of female employees) and the Communication services industry (68% of male employees and 50% of female employees).

The lowest rates of trade union membership were recorded in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry (7% of male employees and 5% of female employees), Property and business services (13% of male employees and 9% of female employees) and the Wholesale trade industry divisions (17% of male employees and 9% of female employees).

PROPORTION OF ALL EMPLOYEES WHO WERE TRADE UNION MEMBERS AND SELECTED INDUSTRIES, AUGUST 1996



A higher proportion of male employees were trade union members (34%) than females (28%). The difference was most marked in the Mining industry (39 percentage points) and least apparent in the Health and community services (less than one percentage point) and Education industries
(2 percentage points).




In August 1996, the highest level of trade union membership was recorded for the occupation group Intermediate production and transport workers, (e.g. plant and machine operators) where 49% were members (50% of males and 41% of females). The lowest level was recorded for the Advanced clerical and service workers occupation, where 13% of employees were members (31% of males and 11% of females).

Males recorded a higher rate of trade union membership than females in all occupations except Managers and administrators (24% of males and 14% of females) and Professionals (42% and 28% respectively).

PROPORTION OF ALL EMPLOYEES WHO WERE TRADE UNION MEMBERS AND OCCUPATION, AUGUST 1996



Full-time or part-time status

Some 35% of full-time employees and 22% of part-time employees were trade union members. Male full-time employees reported slightly higher rates of trade union membership (36%) than female employees (32%). This pattern was reversed for part-time employees (23% for females, 18% for males), reflecting the relatively high proportion of female part-time employees.

Permanent or casual employee

Permanent employees were more likely to be trade union members than casual employees (37% compared with 13%). A similar proportion of full-time permanent employees (37%) and part-time permanent employees (38%) were members of a trade union. Of casual employees, 11% of full-timers and 14% of part-timers were trade union members.

Sector

The public sector had a markedly higher union membership rate at 55% than the private sector at 24%. In both the public and the private sectors, males reported higher union membership levels at 61% (public) and 27% (private) than females, at 50% and 21% respectively.

STANDARD EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

In August 1996, 97% of full-time employees and 69% of part-time employees received standard employment benefits such as superannuation, sick leave, holiday leave or long-service leave in their main job.

Public sector employees (96%) were more likely to receive standard benefits than their private sector (87%) counterparts.

Associate professionals (such as science, engineering and business professionals) were most likely to receive standard benefits (95%). Employees in the Elementary clerical, sales and service workers occupation group were least likely to receive standard benefits (74%).

Males (91%) were more likely to receive a standard benefit than females (87%). The lowest receipt of standard benefits was recorded for the youngest and oldest age groups. Some 63% of males aged 15-19 years received a standard benefit compared to 51% of females in the same age group. For males aged 65 years and over 60% received a standard benefit whilst females in the same age group recorded 42%.

PROPORTION OF ALL EMPLOYEES WHO RECEIVED STANDARD EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BY AGE GROUP, AUGUST 1996




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