Young people turn away from trade unions as generational pay gap widens

Young workers are increasingly reluctant to join trade unions, it emerged today as trade union centre TUC warned of a wider pay gap between age groups.

The Trades Union Congress told the BBC today that union membership levels among under-30s had fallen to 15.7 per cent last year, compared to 20.1 per cent in 2001.

At the same time, the wage gap between older and younger people has widened by 50 per cent in the last 20 years, according to TUC figures.

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The generational pay gap between under-30s and over-30s has increased in real terms from £3,140 in 1998 to £5,884 in 2017 for someone working a 40 hour week.

"Were creating a lost generation of younger workers," said TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady. "Too many young people are stuck in low-paid, insecure jobs, with little opportunity to get on in life."

She added that unions needed to reach out to young workers and to show that trade unions are still relevant.

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A survey by the TUC found that just three in 10 young workers feel their current job makes the most of the experience and qualifications, while four in 10 have had no training opportunities in the last year.

This has impacted the lives of many young employees, with 22 per cent saying they put off staring a family and 41 per cent putting off buying or moving home due to the pressures.

Overall trade union membership has also fallen to a low of 23.2 per cent, the smallest percentage since 1995.

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