Story: Strikes and labour disputes

Number of registered unions

Number of registered unions

The number of trade unions in New Zealand has varied dramatically as labour laws have changed. From a tiny total in the 19th century, the number reached a peak of 500 in the late 1930s, when union membership became compulsory. After compulsory unionism was abolished in 1991 by the Employment Contracts Act, unions dropped to a 20th-century low of fewer than a hundred, then rose slightly again with the repeal of the Act.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Strikes and labour disputes - Wars, depression and first Labour government', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 August 2020)

Story by Mark Derby, published 11 Mar 2010, updated 1 Mar 2016