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Survey strikes blow for unions

THE long-held belief that there may be a direct correlation between the strength of union membership and working days lost may be incorrect.

Figures in a new report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on current social trends in Australia appear to indicate that strong union membership does not necessarily mean more days will be lost to industrial disputes.

WA has the lowest percentage of trade union membership in the country with only 21.8 per cent of the workforce belonging to a union.

However, WA had the second highest number of working days lost due to industrial disputes, with 83 working days lost for every 1000 employees.

Tasmania, on the other hand, had the highest union membership in Australia at 34.7 per cent of the work force but had only nineteen working days lost per 1000 employees during 1998. Only the Northern Territory lost fewer days to industrial dispute.

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