Frequently Asked Questions
Is joining a Union worth it?
Many people have this concern. Whilst it may seem like an unnecessary expense to pay to become a Union member, nothing could be further from the truth. According to Safe At Work, Unionised workforces are 70 per cent more likely to obey health and safety standards. Workforces with higher numbers of Union members are also paid significantly higher wages than in industries where Union membership is poor.
But, what if I am the only person in my workforce to belong to a Union?
Even if few people in your workforce are Union members, you will still be advantaged by belonging to your Union. Unions provide special services such as free or discounted legal advice. They will also ensure that you are compensated if you are ever made redundant at work. It is also comforting to be able to check that workplace health and safety standards are being met. Unions also provide free advice regarding your wage entitlements and other benefits available to you.
So in the long run, it pays to join a Union.
Couldn’t find a Union that covers your Occupation on our “Find Your Union” page?
Don’t worry, there is a Union for you. Simply CLICK HERE and leave your details in our form and we’ll be in touch shortly to put you in the right direction.
Represented by more than one Union?
Some professions are covered by more than one Union. If this is the case, the best thing to do is to call one of the Unions.
The Union will advise you as to whether they are the right fit for your occupation and your issues at work.
What is a Union Delegate?
Delegates are workers who are in regular contact with their industry’s Union and act as the Union’s representative in the workplace. It is an unpaid role that acts as an intermediary between workers and Unions. Our delegates are vital in ensuring that workers are treated fairly in the workplace. In fact, Union delegates are so important that most Senior Union Officials actually began their career as unpaid delegates in the industries that they now represent.
What does the term, “Rank and File” mean and why is it important?
Unions are renowned for being responsive to the needs of their members. This is because most Union staff once worked in the very same industries as the workers that they now represent. In this sense, Union officials have “seen it all” and were most likely faced with similar problems at work as their members. Consequently, you should find an understanding and sympathetic ear when you contact your Union. The term “Rank and File” simply refers to Union officials that began their careers working in the same industries as their Union members.
Work Health & Safety
and Related Links
Work Health and Safety Australian (HOSTA)
A training service formed specifically to assist Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs).
HOSTA administers the delivery of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) HSR training.
Injured Workers Support Network
Provides information concerning Workers Compensation, Support and Advice. The Injured Workers Support Network assists workers with adjustment needs, psychological issues and re-employment challenges during periods of injury or illness.
Workers Health Centre
Australia’s oldest workers’ Health and Safety and Return to Work service. Workers Health provides quality evidence-based services including Injury management and return to work services; Work, Health and Safety advice and training; Ergonomic assessment and advice; Audiological services; & Clinical services.
Work Health and Safety Resource and Information. Designed for Workplace Safety Representatives, Union Officials and/or Trade Union Educators. This website provides information to facilitate workplace health and safety.
Work Health and Safety Act of 2011
Access the Work Health and Safety Act 2011: An Act relating to work health and safety, and for related purposes via The Federal Register of Legislation. (The Legislation Register is the authorised whole-of-government website for Commonwealth legislation and related documents and is managed by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel).
The Workcover website provides details on making a claim, how to report an incident or injury, steps on raising a Health and Safety concern at work, as well as other useful information. Workcover should be notified if there has been an incident, death or injury at work.
Safe Work Australia
Safe Work Australia leads the development of a national policy to improve: (i) Work Health and Safety and; (ii) Workers’ Compensation Arrangements across Australia.
NSW for All: 2015 Workers Compensation Survey
Please consider filling out this “Workers Compensation Survey,” featured on the Unions NSW website. The Survey takes 3-10 minutes to complete and will be used as research for the campaign to reverse the cuts to Workers Compensation.
Hunterlink Recovery Services is a 24 hour support service for the working industry in Australia, including international seafarers visiting Australian waters. Hunterlink is a not-for-profit organisation founded in response to a need for welfare support within the industry. It supports Unions, employers, employees and their families by enhancing the mental wellbeing of workers and their families. This can involve helping to address substance use, mental health issues and any conditions causing distress in people’s lives.
Your Rights at Work
Fair Work Ombudsmen: Rights and Obligations Factsheets
Factsheets covering a range of workplace rights and obligations.
Australian Unions: Your Rights Factsheets
Australian Unions (or Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)) is Australia’s national trade union centre. The above link provides an Australian Unions factsheet on workers’ rights, entitlements and conditions.
Australian Human Rights Commission: Work Out Your Rights – Information for Employees
The Australian Human Rights Commission is an agency specialising in investigating and resolving workplace discrimination issues. For an overview of the coverage provided by The Human Rights Commission to employees, click the link above.
An organisation created by the unemployed for the unemployed. The AUWU is supported by the Australian Union movement and a broad section of the Australian community. More often than not workers loose their jobs or experience difficulties in their life due to no fault of their own and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity like everyone else in the community. The unemployed have rights too and Centrelink and their service providers have obligations. For further information clink on the link above.
LabourStart is an online news service. It aids the International Trade Union Movement by collecting and disseminating information about Unions throughout the world, and also assists Unions in their campaigns. Labourstart features daily labour news links in more than 20 languages.
International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Established in 1919, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN). It unites governments, employers and workers representatives of 186 member States in order to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA
‘Union Aid Abroad – Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad’ (APHEDA) is an overseas aid agency that is facilitated largely by The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). APHEDA’s aim is to build solidarity at an international scale by hosting a number of projects in Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. The organisation is the global justice instigator of The Australian Union Movement.
Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)
Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an independent, non-profit organisation that works to improve conditions for workers in garment factories. FWF is active in 15 production countries in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe and invites companies to join FWF and make a difference to the labour conditions of garment workers.
Website providing over 842 inspiring Union songs and poems.
The People’s Chorus is a union choir with an emphasis on social justice and workers’ rights. Its members combine these concerns with a love of singing.
Youth and Student Resources
Worksite: Your Rights at Work for Students
A resource provided by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) for schools and students. It includes information on first jobs, your rights at work and the role of trade Unions in Australia.
Unions NSW Union Summer Intern Program
The Union Summer Intern Program is a great opportunity for young people to engage in The Union Movement, and learn more about the operations of Unions. The program usually runs over three weeks at the beginning of each year (usually running from Monday 2nd February to Friday 20th February). Applications tend to reopen towards the middle or latter part of each year. Applications close around November. Please check the Unions NSW website for more details.
Newcastle University Student Association (NUSA)
Newcastle University Student Association (NUSA) is the only fully independent student organisation open to all students and run by students. For sixty years, NUSA has been the voice of students on campus. It provides students with support, representation, advocacy, social and cultural activities, affordable courses and healthy food.
Human Rights Commission
The Human Rights Commission was established in 1986 by an act of the Federal Parliament. It is an independent statutory organisation and reports to the Federal Parliament through the Attorney-General. It works in a range of areas involving breaches in human rights. This website includes information concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice.
Refugees & Migrants Resources
Immigration Advice & Rights Centre (NSW)
Immigration Advice and Rights Centre (IARC) is a not-for-profit registered charity specialising in Australian immigration and refugee law and policy. IARC provides free immigration advice and representation to refugees and financially disadvantaged immigrants in New South Wales.
Human Rights Commission
The Human Rights Commission was established in 1986 by an act of the Federal Parliament. It is an independent statutory organisation that reports to the Federal Parliament through the Attorney-General. It works on a range of human rights issues including those involving asylum seekers and refugees.
Women and Gender Resources
The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW is part of the NSW Department of Justice. It promotes anti-discrimination, equal opportunity principles and policies throughout NSW. It administers the anti-discrimination laws, and handles complaints under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW).
Human Rights Commission
The Human Rights Commission was established in 1986 by an act of the Federal Parliament. It is an independent statutory organisation that reports to the Federal Parliament through the Attorney-General. It works on a range of human rights issues. The Commission works in partnership with groups to address issues concerning Sex Discrimination and those involving Sexual Orientation, Sex & Gender Identity.
Rape Crisis Online (NSW)
NSW Rape Crisis is the 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling service for anyone in NSW – men and women – who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault and their non offending supporters.
Women’s Electoral Lobby
The Women’s Electoral Lobby is a national, independent, non-party political, feminist lobby group that works to improve the position of women in society. It lobbies politicians, Unions, employers, educationalists and other institutions to gain policies that promote equality and change attitudes and practices discriminating against women.
Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)
Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an independent, non-profit organisation that works to improve conditions for workers in garment factories. FWF is active in 15 production countries in Asia, Africa and eastern Europe and invites companies to join FWF and make a difference to the labour conditions of garment workers. Much of their work concerns improving the safety conditions of women in South East Asia. For more information on women’s issues, click here.
Something we haven’t covered?
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