Turning the tide? Online workshops on trade union memberships and the pandemic

Two online workshops on the effects of the pandemic on trade union membership in Germany and the Nordics & Best-practice strategies on how to gain and hold union members. June 15th and June 17th, 2021, 10-11:45 am CET.


In 2020 some trade unions, for example in Norway and Sweden, reported a trend of more applications for trade union membership. A rise in membership numbers is not new in times of economic crisis. In such times people tend to seek protection, and the role of trade unions as guardians of employee interests receives more attention. In many countries, trade unions negotiated short-time work programs (state-sponsored work-sharing schemes aimed at saving jobs), prevented layoffs, and represented employees in affected sectors. Reports also indicate that young people in particular sought membership in trade unions. In other countries like Germany and Denmark, opposite trends may be observed – overall, the German DGB and the Danish FH lost members. But there is hope as well, as some German trade unions were also able to stabilize their membership levels or even increase their membership. During the Covid-19 pandemic also new innovative approaches and methods for reaching trade union members have been tested, for instance through social media channels and online tools. It is clear in any case that trade union membership and union density as cornerstones of the Nordic welfare models and the German social partnership tradition must be examined and discussed more closely.

Welcome to a workshop on trade union membership and recruitment strategies.

During the first workshop we will discuss recent developments in trade union density. What do the numbers from 2020 tell us? Is there an upward or downwards trend in trade union density thanks to the pandemic? Or are there even fewer members in affected branches? What is the reason for the uptick in some sectors? What strategies can be used to hold onto these new members in the long term?

During the second workshop we will leave the theory and focus on the direct work of how to attract new and hold onto current members. Which strategies are possible? Are there best practices and even new innovative methods? What can we learn from the approaches?

Let’s discuss and learn from one other!

Workshop 1. Upward trend in trade union density thanks to the pandemic? (June 15th)

Workshop 2. How to hold the upward trend/turn the tide - Best-Practices (17th June)

Moderation: Meike Büscher, FES Nordic Countries

Workshop language: English.

Contact person: meike.buscher(at)fes.de


FES Nordic Countries

Office/Postal Address
Barnhusgatan 10
111 23 Stockholm

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