Vakbondslidmaatschap in Nederland: nooit serieus over nagedacht! | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424


Trade union membership in the Netherlands: never thought about it seriously

Trade union membership in the Netherlands: never thought about it seriously

In this article we address the composition of trade union membership and reasons for non-union membership in the Netherlands in 2007. From a theoretical point of view, hypotheses based upon 'voice' theory and 'social custom' theory are tested. Both theories contribute to the explanation of our findings, however, the results of the social custom theory are more robust. As to trade-union membership (26%), the picture which first emerged in the nineteen eighties, nationally and internationally, is confirmed. Female workers, temporary workers, young workers, non-western migrant workers and part-timers are less likely to be members of trade unions than male workers, permanent workers, older workers, native workers and full-timers. Of non-members, 40% indicate not to join because they do not seriously consider union membership. This share is significantly higher for younger workers (64%), temporary workers (51%), non-western migrant workers (51%) and part-timers (47%). From a policy point of view, unions not only have the problem of maintaining membership, but also of getting non-members to consider membership.


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