THE AUSTRALIAN WORKERS' UNION
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
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.
OTHER HELPFUL LINKS
ACTU - Australian Council of Trade Unions
ACTU - Union Directory
Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC)
Australian Labor Party
Australian Taxation Office
Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation
Courts Administration Authority (SA)
Equal Opportunity Commission
South Australian Government
South Australian Industrial Court,
Industrial Commission & Workers Compensation Tribunal
South Australian Parliament
UTLC United Trades & Labour Council (SA Unions)
WorkCover Claims Assist WorkCover Corporation's new injury management guide
Working Women's Centre