Opinions on Unions and Work Part 3 year 2011

Organisational issues The quintessence of trade union strength is having a large number of members who want to be organised in trade unions. But almost equally important is that a large number of members also want to assume trade union assignments and in their capacity as elected union representatives conduct daily trade union work at workplaces.

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The trade union mandate

It appears from the third part of the 2011 edition of Opinions on Unions and Work that the readiness to assume trade union assignments is still significant. In spite of the fact that the number of members has decreased in recent years, the number of members with trade union assignments has increased slightly.

In 2011 there were in Sweden totally 325,000 trade union members with assignments. This figure exceeds the number of inhabitants in Malmö, the third biggest city in Sweden. Out of these, 158,000 had assignments within one of the 14 LO affiliated national unions. This is 1,000 persons more compared to five years ago. This means that 14 percent of the union members have trade union assignments. 

Within TCO (The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees) there are 119,000 and within SACO (The Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations – academics) there are 42,000 trade union members with assignments, which corresponds to 13 percent and 9 percent of the total number of members of the respective organisation. 

Men are, to a higher degree than women, elected representatives. 11 percent of the total number of women union members and 14 percent of men union members have union assignments. 

However, the division according to sex differs among LO, TCO and SACO in so far as it is more equal within TCO compared to LO and SACO. The most common trade union assignments are safety delegate, board representative and contact/workplace representative.