The  Australian  Workers’  Union  is  a federation of state, regional and industry based  branches. It  represents  more  than 100,000 members across  Australia  in a  diverse range of industries. It is Australia’s oldest General union.

The  AWU  was  formed  in 1886 as the Amalgamated Shearers Union, and  quickly  grew  to   represent  shearers  across  New  South  Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The Queensland Shearers Union formed in 1887.

By  1894  the  Australian  Workers’  Union  was  formed  and advanced the struggle to cope with  the conditions  of  the  1890s.  Gradually,  the AWU grew as the   colonies recovered.

Federation  in  1901  brought  a  Commonwealth  Industrial  Relations system.  The AWU was the first union to secure a federal award under the  newly  formed conciliation  and  arbitration  system  the  Pastoral Industry  Award,  with  this  award,  the  AWU was able to ensure that workers,  not  just  bosses, had a say in setting  pay rates and workplace conditions.

Today, the AWU represents working Australians from all walks of life. The AWU has coverage of workers ranging from hairdressers to rabbit trappers.  Our  members  build  railways,  work in underground mines, they mill  paper and make roads. They also farm fish and grow tobacco. Some  of  the  major  industries  in  which  our members work include:  pastoral  and  agricultural;  manufacturing; aluminum; aviation; oil and gas; mining; construction and steel.

The   AWU’s  history   is   as   rich   and   complex  as  the  industries  it represents.  

The Australian Workers' Union is the nation's oldest general union. It was also the
platform from where the Australian Labor Party was born.

The union is a blue-collar union. It represents workers in many industries, just some of 
them include aviation, civil construction, oil and gas, mining and manufacturing.

The AWU is dedicated to protecting and fighting for the rights of workers and representing
their interests including wages and conditions, safety in the workplace and securing 

The AWU is one of Australia's top 10 biggest unions and it is represented in all states.

It is also Australia's largest union covering private sector employees outside Australia's
major cities.

Here are some facts and figures:

- the AWU has around 34 regional offices
- it has approximately 55 industrial staff
- it has more representatives based outside capital cities than in
- it has a full time Workers Compensation Officer.

For more detailed information on the history of the AWU, 
please follow this link to our National Website.


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