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Issue #1602      July 17, 2013

Women union membership the majority in WA

Recent data released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Trade Union Membership, showed there has been a steady decline in trade union membership in recent years.

CFMEU members at the Mundaring Water Treatment Plant. (Photo: Vinnie Molina)

The report, released in April 2013 presents data from the years 2011 and 2012. It clearly shows how changes in the economy and ideological attacks on the right to organise by both Labor and Liberal governments have had a direct impact on trade union membership.

The ABS reports that out of 9 million workers only 18% belong to a trade union on a national basis but trade union density varies from state to state. Only 14.5% of workers in Western Australia are members of a trade union.

A significant outcome in recent times is that for the first time in WA’s history the number of women who are trade union members is higher than men. In WA 52% of all union members are women; despite these figures in WA, women are still earning less than men, the biggest wage gap in the country.

Legislation contributes to the gap in wages and represents a real attack on the right to organise. The fact that women in WA represent the majority of union members in the state is a great achievement and should be emulated in all other states. History has shown when women are organised they have been able to achieve real gains, such as the right to vote.

The CPA calls for the repeal of all draconian laws that attack the right to organise and campaigns for the elimination of the gender wage gap.   

Next article – Deakin staff reject pay offer

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