Unions see number of members drop: 100,000 less in two years

This is evident from figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The number of union members has been declining for ten years. This spring there were still about 1.5 million, 98,000 fewer than in 2019.

Older members

Since 1966, the Dutch unions had not had so few members. The number of female union members declined relatively faster than the number of male members.

The average age of union members is also rising. Meanwhile, 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 under the age of 25 is actually shrinking.

On average, 18 percent of Dutch employees are members of a trade union. In education, most employees (31 percent) are unionized, in the information and communications industry (6 percent) the fewest people are unionized.

Reactions unions

The FNV trade union, 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 have died. The union emphasizes that the number of members up to 55 years has been increasing again since last spring.

CNV also sees the number of members falling. The second trade union movement in the Netherlands has more than 225,000 members, compared to more than 10,000 more 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 union members in smaller trade unions.

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