White‐collar trade unionism has aroused considerable interest among students of industrial relations, but relatively little attention has been paid to staff associations, which Crompton noted perform similar functions to trade unions and to which white‐collar workers are partial. At present, white‐collar and partly white‐collar unions account for roughly half of the unions in Britain and some 35 per cent of the membership. The density of white‐collar membership has increased to 40 per cent (over 50 per cent if staff and professional associations are included), compared with 53 per cent for manual workers. White‐collar workers are traditionally thought to be less disposed to join trade unions and, as Bain et al note, “when white collar workers do unionize, they are believed to carry with them certain aspects of the status ideology which affects the behaviour of their unions”. Blackburn and Prandy offer a theoretical framework which may be used to compare the “unionateness” of white‐collar and manual forms of employee representation. Most white‐collar unions satisfy the criteria of unionateness, but a large proportion of staff associations fail on the question of independence from employers for the purposes of negotiation. In the first four years of his appointment, the Certification Officer refused certificates of independence to fifty‐one organisations, all of them staff associations.