Trade unions losing members
The number of trade union members fell by nearly 100,000 in the past two years. That is a decrease of 6 percent, reported Statistics Netherlands. In the past 120 years, there's only been a sharper decline four times.
The number of union members has been declining for ten years. In Mach or this year, there was still about 1.5 million, 98,000 fewer than in 2019. That is the lowest number of union members since 1966. The number of female union members fell relatively faster than the number of male members.
The average age of union members is rising. Currently, 22 percent are older than the retirement age, compared to 18 percent in 2019. At the same time, the unions appear to have difficulty retaining young people because the proportion of members below the age of 25 is shrinking.
The unionization rate is highest in education, where 31 percent of employees belong to a union. The lowest rate is in the information and communication sector at 6 percent. The unionization rate for all Netherlands employees is 18 percent.
Trade union FNV, the largest trade union in the Netherlands, points out in a response that the decline in the number of members is mainly due to older members who are retiring or who died. The union emphasized that the number of members up to 55 years old has increased since March last year. According to FNV, the group of members up to the age of 35 is growing the fastest. The number of registrations of men and women at FNV is currently almost the same. FNV now has over 915,000 members. In 2019 it had over 1 million.
CNV is also seeing the number of members falling. The second-largest trade union in the Netherlands now has over 225,000 members, over 10,000 fewer than in 2019. At the VCP, which includes several small associations, the counter now stands at 163,300 against 163,500 at the previous count. There are also about 200,000 members of smaller trade unions.
Reporting by ANP.