Dutch trade union membership further down

Dutch trade union membership further down

By the end of March 2013, there were nearly 1.8 million trade union members in the Netherlands, a reduction by 52 thousand relative to one year previously. Trade union membership only increased among over-65s according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands.

Trade union membership fell across all age categories under 65, but the reduction was most dramatic in the age category 25-45 where membership declined by 33 thousand, i.e. more than half of the total reduction. In March 2013, trade union membership among 25 to 45-year-olds totalled 515 thousand. Membership among young people under the age of 25 was reduced by 8 thousand to 61 thousand, a relatively large reduction by 12 percent.

This year, 296 thousand over-65s were trade union members. The number of trade union members older than 65 is still growing, as many over-65s decide to continue their membership after retirement, but the growth is less substantial in 2013 than in the preceding years. The number of over-65 members was 9 thousand up in 2013 from one year previously. In 2011 and 2012 the number of over-65 members had still increased by 18 thousand.

Part of the trade unions have joined a trade union federation. There are three trade union federations in the Netherlands. Together, they look after the interests of nearly 1.5 million members. They are engaged in collective bargaining and participate in consultative bodies like the Social and Economic Council (SER).

In March 2013, total membership of the three trade union federations (FNV, CNV and MHP) was 155 thousand down from one year previously. Membership changes as trade unions decide to join or leave a federation. Together with the effect of joining and leaving members, this has severely affected the CNV and MHP memberships and has resulted in a membership reduction of 50 thousand and 67 thousand respectively for the CNV and MHP federations. The number of trade unions in the FNV remained stable, but total membership fell to 1,142 thousand.

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