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6. An Analysis of Trade Union Membership in Malta

An Analysis of Trade Union Membership in Malta
Pages 46-58
Debono, M.


Despite their crucial social role, trade unions in Europe are suffering from challenges relating to a widespread trend of declining membership levels. Public information on trade union membership levels in Malta is mainly obtained from reports compiled annually by the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations through administrative records provided by the trade unions. This study, the first of its kind in Malta, offers an alternative and more detailed examination of membership levels through a survey carried out among a representative national sample of 781 employees. This study reveals a lower trade union membership level than what is officially reported. In line with foreign research, this study also indicates that the likelihood of being a trade union member increases among older employees, those who are in full-time or indefinite contracts, and those employed in the public sector. On the other hand, contrary to European trends, employees holding tertiary qualifications and higher level occupations are more likely to be unionised in Malta. Besides, male and female employees are equally likely to be unionised. This study concludes that, in order to prevent further decline in trade union density and membership, Maltese trade unions need to reorganise themselves, refocus their strategies and become more effective in attracting and retaining non-traditional members.


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