Conference Paper The Future of Work Workshop
Union Coverage for Non-standard Workers in Britain
25 Sep 2001
Using representative data from the British Household Panel Survey for the period 1991-1997, we document the extent of union coverage across standard and non-standard workers in Britain. Non-standard employment is defined in terms of contracts, places, times, and hours of work. We find significant gender differences in the extent of union coverage across various forms of non-standard work, and we also find that women across nearly all types of non-standard jobs are significantly less likely to be union-covered than women in regular employment. However for men, this negative relationship is only found for men working on fixed term contracts, in more than one place, or non-standard hours (that is, fewer than 30 hours per week). We also find there has been no expansion of union coverage towards any type of non-standard employment in the 1990s. Thus unions have not been successful so far in their 'strategy of enlargement' - at least with our data. Finally, we find significant differences in the relationship between non-standard work and union coverage in the private and public sectors.