Queensland union memberships drying up

UNIONS have taken a massive hit to their membership in Queensland in the past financial year, losing about seven members a day on average.

The militant CFMEU suffered the biggest hit, losing ­almost 2000 members.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the new figures, which show the state's total union membership fell from 348,616 from June 30, 2018, to 345,944 a year later, with 15 of 26 Queensland unions posting a reduction.

The AMWU suffered a loss of 1106 members, while 1374 people left the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Queensland branch.

The CFMEU's membership plummeted by 1923.

Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) general secretary Michael Clifford said construction employment was down by 1.1 per cent during that year.

The CFMEU march in protest of Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project.
The CFMEU march in protest of Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project.

"There's a correlation with jobs in the industries generally," he said. "In those industries where there is growing employment and areas that are critically important, there has been growth in union membership."

The SDA grew by 789 members, Together jumped by 790, the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union grew by 1703, while the Queensland Teachers' Union increased by 1319.

Mr Clifford said QCU-affiliated unions reduced by 256 members during that year, which was 0.09 per cent of its total membership.

He said that where there was declining employment, a decline in membership usually followed.

"While in some areas there have been declines in mem­bership, we draw attention to the fact that unions still continue to do great work on behalf of their members," Mr Clifford said.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland spokesman Dan Petrie said union membership and members of industrial organisations had faced a challenging 12 months.

"The general state of the Queensland economy" affected both employer groups and unions, Mr Petrie said.

"Businesses needing help to negotiate an increasingly complex compliance environment and a voice to government have underpinned the chamber's increased membership in the last 12 months," he said.