The TUC has published a report to coincide with the start of its annual conference on how unions make work better and society fairer.

The guide, “The Union Advantage” demonstrates the benefits of unions not only to individual workers and the TUC’s nearly six million members, but to employers and society as well.

The advantages of union membership include:

  • higher pay - 55 per cent of unionised workplaces in the public sector had pay rises in 2011, compared to just 35 per cent of non-unionised workplaces. In addition 16 to 24 year-old union members earn, on average, 33 per cent more than non-union members of the same age
  • longer holidays - union members have 3.8 days more paid leave on average than non-union members, with part-time workers benefiting from 5.5 more days of paid leave on average
  • safer workplaces - unions train 10,000 health and safety reps each year to internationally recognised standards and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds each year by reducing lost time from occupational injuries and work-related illness, according to government research
  • the collective strength to persuade employers to adopt formal written policies to promote diversity and equal opportunities, with the result that 76 per cent of workplaces are now covered by a formal policy (up from 67 per cent 10 years ago)
  • improvements to women’s pay and employment in the last three years, including equal pay audits with employer support and improving the pay of the worst off, the majority of whom are women
  • the union-run Justice for Cleaners campaign, which has won significant advances in pay, sick pay, pensions and holidays for the capital’s cleaners, most of whom are migrant workers.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Workers in the UK who are members of trade unions are better paid, safer at work and get more paid holidays than workers who aren’t in a union.

“But being part of a union is about so much more than just the individual benefits, it’s about being part of a collective movement creating a good society with shared prosperity, security and fairness for all.

“Our new guide, The Union Advantage, sets out these benefits and how we achieve them through strong negotiation, and by working with employers and government for an economy with decent jobs and sustainable growth.”

Iain Birrell at Thompsons Solicitors said: “This report clearly shows both the advantage of membership and the reason why the Tories want a return to Dickensian workplaces."

To read the report in full, go to: