Trade Union Membership

Indicator Description

  • A. Definition

    The number and ratio of workers who have trade union membership that were reported by the Ministry of Employment and Labor

  • B. How to measure

    Number of Union Member
    Unionization Rate = Number of Union Members/Number of Eligible Employees X 100
    *Eligible Employees: wage workers (permanent, temporary, daily) excluding officials who are prohibited from joining the union

  • C. Features and Sources

    Category Sub-Category Sub-Subcategory Type of Indicator Reference Data Sources First year data available Periodicity
    Social Rights Labor rights Trade Union Rights Subjective/Result Statistics Korea Employment and Labor Statistics
    Whole Country Labor Union Present Condition
    1997
    2003
    1 year
  • D. Interpretation

    The Constitution stipulates three labor rights which are there in order to maintain and improve working conditions and to maintain a fair contractual relationship between labor and management, thereby forming trade unions and voluntary organizational activities. Although the union activities are legally stipulated, there is the view that workers might strike against unfair dismissal or unfair labor practices, and they are negatively perceived because of social problems or friction due to labor disputes. With an increasing number of workers recognizing the need for trade unions, the number of unionized workers has increased annually, and by 2017, 1.96 million had joined the union. The number of male workers is about 3.5 times higher than that of female workers, which numbers about 1.5 million. The total participation rate is only 10%, and it seems that a large number of workers still work without joining unions.

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