World Bank: Trade Unions Benefit Workers

By Agence France-Presse Workers belonging to trade unions tend to earn more money, work fewer hours and keep their jobs longer than their colleagues, according to a World Bank report released Feb. 12. But temporary layoffs are more frequent in unionized companies, said "Unions and Collective Bargaining: Economic Effects in a Global Environment." The report reviewed more than 1,000 studies on the effects of unions and collective bargaining. Workers covered by collective agreements get more money if they are in industrialized countries, the report said. The wage mark-up for such workers was 15% in the Unitd States, and 5% to 10% in other industrialized countries. But for poor or middle-income countries, unionized workers could get either more or less money than their non-unionized colleagues. "Voluntary job turnover is lower and job tenure longer in unionized firms, the report said, citing evidence from Australia, Britain, Japan, Malaysia and the United States. "Hours worked are lower among unionized than non-unionized workers," the report added. "This is true for both total and normal hours. In addition, unionized workers are more likely to get paid for the overtime work that they do." Countries with highly coordinated collective bargaining tended to be associated with lower and less persistent unemployment, greater equality in earnings and fewer strikes, the report said. "The need for workers, employers and government to find solutions that cut poverty through both growth and better distribution of income is becoming increasingly urgent in an era of globalization," said Robert Holzmann, director of social protection for the World Bank. World Bank headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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