HC Deb 15 February 1934 vol 285 cc2073-4
3. Mr. LEWIS

asked the Minister of Labour how many workers in this country were members of trade unions at the end of 1920 and of 1932, respectively


The information in my possession relates to the membership of trade unions, registered and unregistered, whose head offices are situated in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The total membership of such trade unions was about 8,346,000 at the end of 1920 and about 4,441,000 at the end of 1932. These totals include members in the Irish Free State and overseas branches of the unions referred to, who numbered about 55,000 in 1932; a corresponding figure for 1920 is not available. Detailed statistics of trade union membership in 1932 and in previous years will be found in the issue of the "Ministry of Labour Gazette" for October, 1933.


Can the Minister say how far this great reduction in member ship is due to the average workingman's dislike and distrust of the political activities of the Trades Union Congress?


Is it not a fact that the figures for 1920 were a record because of all those engaged on munition work throughout the length and breadth of the country?


And is it not a fact that they include a large number of women who were in munition works and went out of industry afterwards?


I have not the figures for women apart from men, but it is the fact that the figures for 1920 are the highest ever recorded, and that there was a great increase in membership during the War.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the figures for 1933 have jumped up considerably over those for 1932?