For example, in the western German retail and wholesale trade the proportion of employees bound by union wage agreements has diminished from 69 per cent in 2000 to 42 per cent today. Moreover, the organisation has been put under pressure by the foundation of specialised unions and has increasingly faced demands from employers for changes to the general agreements on employment conditions. The union has responded with a more expansive wage policy accompanied by an increase in industrial action and has used the resulting conflicts to recruit new members. The decline in its membership has indeed slowed in recent years and in many bargaining areas the union has managed to catch up with the general development in wages.