Essential Report

Perceptions of trade unions

Jun 16, 2020

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about the role of unions in the workplace?

  TOTAL: Agree TOTAL: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Unsure
Unions provide essential services to their members to ensure they are paid appropriately and have safe working environments 74% 11% 34% 40% 8% 3% 15%
A union gives workers more power with employers through a collective voice 74% 12% 34% 40% 9% 3% 15%
Unions provide advice and services to which members would otherwise not have access 70% 13% 30% 40% 10% 3% 17%
Unions are vital to stop businesses taking advantage of their employees 67% 16% 34% 33% 12% 5% 16%
Unions that insist on minimum qualifications and training create a highly-skilled workforce 64% 15% 27% 38% 11% 4% 20%
               
Unions are too politically biased 62% 19% 30% 31% 12% 7% 19%
Union protection makes it difficult for employers to discipline, terminate or even promote employees 58% 24% 25% 33% 18% 6% 18%
Unions add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy for businesses 49% 33% 21% 28% 22% 11% 18%
Unions are corrupt 47% 30% 19% 28% 18% 12% 23%
Employment law and regulations mean unions are no longer needed 41% 40% 16% 26% 25% 15% 19%
  • There was higher agreement with statements pertaining to positive perceptions of unions than negative. 74% agreed that ‘Unions provide essential services to their members to ensure they are paid appropriately and have safe working environments’ and ‘A union gives workers more power with employers through a collective voice’.
  • 62% agreed that ‘Unions are too politically biased’ and over half (58%) agreed that ‘Union protection makes it difficult for employers to discipline, terminate or even promote employees’.

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