Unite the Union: History of membership numbers and mergers

Unite the Union is the largest union in the United Kingdom. Its size, however, isn't due to organic growth but instead a series of mergers from 2002 to 2007. Before 2002, Union for the Finance Industry (UNIFI), Graphical Paper & Media Union (GPMU), Manufacturing Science & Finance Union (MSF), Amalgamated Engineering & Electrical Union (AEEU) and Transport & General Workers Union (T&G) were all acting as seperate entities. On January 1, 2002, MSF and AEEU merged to form Amicus. In turn becoming one of the largest unions in the United Kingdom, second only to UNISON in terms of membership.
In 2004, after merging with a number of smaller unions (see notes below), Amicus was joined by UNIFI and GPMU on October 21 and November 1 respectively.
On May 1, 2007, Amicus merged with T&G to form Unite. This statistic charts the membership levels of these unions as they gradually came together to become the Unite that exists today.

You can find additional information on the history of Unite on their website

Number of members belonging to Unite the Union from 1999/2000 to 2016/17

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Sources

Release date

October 2018

Region

United Kingdom

Survey time period

April 1, 1999 to September 1, 2017

Supplementary notes

* The exact figure for Graphical Paper & Media Union in 2003/2004 is an estimate. Due to membership levels falling below 100 thousand in this period, the union membership was not detailed in the report. The figure used is taken from page 72 of the 2004-2005 report and was arrived at by summing the number of members who contributed to the political fund and the number of members who were exempt from contributing. This, however, does not necessarily represent a union’s total membership. This is because, in the case of some trade unions, total membership includes various classes of special category members (eg honorary, retired, unemployed) who are members under the union’s rules but who are neither required to pay the political levy nor to seek formal exemption. This individual figure should, as a result, be treated with caution.
** Amicus also merged with the following unions during this period which are not displayed in this statistic due to their relatively small size:
Union of Textile Workers (November 13, 2002), CGNU Staff Association (January 9, 2003), Anchor Group Staff Association (June 8, 2004)

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