Union members win change this financial year

Date Published: 04/07/2024
Category: Analysis

Today’s the start of a new financial year, and a number of changes that benefit workers – and workers’ wallets – have come into effect.

Medicare 40th Anniversary

Date Published: 02/02/2024
Category: Analysis

It’s thanks to the dedication of unionists over many years that we have Medicare today.

Yesterday, Australia voted.

Date Published: 22/05/2022
Category: Analysis

Last night’s election outcome is a win for workers across the country. But it’s not the end of our campaigning efforts. It’s a new beginning.

2021 Throwback: Here’s what unions did in the year that was

Date Published: 13/01/2022
Category: Analysis

Here’s a look back on the year that was, with a view toward the future we can create.

There is no labour shortage, just a properly paid job shortage

Date Published: 23/11/2021
Category: Analysis

There’s a lot of noise from employers at the moment about not being able to find workers. Even with millions of workers returning to the labour force after falling out of work during the pandemic, employers – apparently – simply cannot find anyone to fill vacancies. In response, the Morrison Government has announced this week…

Workers battle stagnant wages and job insecurity while businesses make a profit

Date Published: 10/11/2021
Category: Analysis

The end to lockdowns and restrictions is bittersweet, we can all celebrate seeing our sorely missed family and friends and newfound freedoms, but we would be lying to ourselves if we thought that we were all coming out of this equally. Our frontline workers are exhausted, with 4 in 5 teachers now considering leaving the…

As the Morrison Government courts climate change, the world deserves better

Date Published: 29/10/2021
Category: Analysis Climate Working life

The Morrison Government’s Plan for Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050, released this week, has been widely criticised domestically and internationally, for it highlights that the Morrison Government is not simply passive or inactive in the face of climate change; it is actively pursuing and facilitating it, and is happy to sacrifice lives, the environment, and the economy in the pursuit of short-term political gain, writes Lauren Piko.

Early Childhood Education and Care isn’t just an “incentive”: it’s essential national infrastructure

Date Published: 22/10/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

The crucial educational, social and economic role of early childhood education and care (ECEC) has been further highlighted over the past two years, as the interruptions of lockdowns and distancing have exacerbated longstanding barriers to accessing free, high-quality, ECEC in Australia, writes Lauren Piko

The federal government must prioritise working people’s financial security

Date Published: 21/10/2021
Category: Analysis

2021 has been a year for breaking grim records. As of June 2020, according to ABS statistics, more Australians than ever are working multiple jobs. In the past, a single income from one decent, secure job was enough to feed, clothe and house a family of five. Around about that time, that one income was…

Cutting Disaster Payments early proves economic harm is a choice

Date Published: 08/10/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

The Morrison Government’s mismanagement of the pandemic continues with plans to cut COVID payments, writes Lauren Piko

Why won’t the Morrison Government crackdown on millionaire tax cheats?

Date Published: 05/10/2021
Category: Analysis

The Pandora Papers have revealed how Australia’s wealthiest are cheating our tax system. When is Morrison going to do something about it?

Unions speak out as Morrison chooses nuclear submarines over public health and climate action

Date Published: 01/10/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

Unions have spoken out against Morrison’s nuclear submarine deal, setting out safe and peaceful alternatives, writes Lauren Piko

Anti-vax, far-right activists undermining Australians’ health, safety

Date Published: 22/09/2021
Category: Analysis

Australians are facing an organised campaign by far-right activists to undermine confidence in our life saving public health response, writes Sally McManus

Australia must follow through on its commitments to global vaccine equity

Date Published: 17/09/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

Australian support of a vaccine waiver is bringing us closer to vaccine equity, but the Government must follow through, writes Lauren Piko

Impact on healthcare workers overlooked in a pandemic defined by numbers

Date Published: 10/09/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

Healthcare workers are the irreplaceable heart of our healthcare system. They must be better supported through the surge in COVID cases, writes Lauren Piko.

Respect@Work must be the starting point

Date Published: 03/09/2021
Category: Analysis Working life Working women

This week, the Senate debated a partial, incomplete and cherry-picked list of recommendations which were drawn from the Sex Discrimination Commission’s Respect@Work report, published over a year ago.

Spotlight on Job Insecurity and Wages: Tasmania

Date Published: 02/09/2021
Category: Analysis Job security

The insecure work crisis is hitting the workers of Tasmania hard. Tasmania has the highest level of casual work (26.6%) in the country – that’s 4.7% higher than the national average. Tasmanian workers earn 13% less than the Australian median weekly wage. One in three workers in Tasmania are on insecure work arrangements including casual,…

Unstable work and wages: a product of political will

Date Published: 31/08/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

Last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published their employment and wage price index for the June quarter. We take a look beyond the numbers.

Stay at home? Housing must be considered in public health and economic recovery

Date Published: 20/08/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

Addressing the inequalities in Australia’s housing market is essential to our economic recovery, writes Lauren Piko

Nowhere to hide on climate futures – Australia’s energy transition is long overdue

Date Published: 13/08/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

In the wake of the IPCC report, the Morrison Government can’t keep hiding behind climate spin. The time for an energy transition is now, writes Lauren Piko.

In this together? We need collective support, not individual blame

Date Published: 06/08/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

With over half the country in lockdown, Morrison must stop shifting blame to the individual for vaccine rollout failures, writes Lauren Piko

Rebooting the cultural sector is vital to our COVID recovery

Date Published: 30/07/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

An economic and structural reboot of the cultural sector is needed to ensure this vital sector survives the pandemic, writes Lauren Piko

Reactive economic policy is no safeguard in a public health crisis

Date Published: 16/07/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

Without a JobKeeper wage subsidy, lockdowns will keep exacerbating and further entrenching patterns of inequality, writes Lauren Piko

There’ll be no economic recovery without a wages recovery

Date Published: 14/07/2021
Category: Analysis

It’s time to face the truth. Our wages problem is because of the weak bargaining power of workers, writes ACTU Secretary Sally McManus

Protecting our healthcare system – why Medicare reforms need greater scrutiny

Date Published: 09/07/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

The Coalition’s track record on Medicare warrants greater scrutiny of new changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, writes Lauren Piko

The kids are more than alright – meet the next gen of activists shaking things up

Date Published: 25/06/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

From group chats to TikTok, the next gen of activists are inventing new ways to fight for a better future for all, writes Tom Quinlivan.

Banks set to profit as Morrison continues attack on retirement savings

Date Published: 18/06/2021
Category: Analysis Super Working life

Banks are set to profit as workers stand to lose thousands in retirement funds from Government changes to superannuation.

Morrison’s Medicare overhaul – how will new changes affect your medical costs

Date Published: 08/06/2021
Category: Analysis Economic recovery

Changes to Medicare will leave some with unexpected out-of-pocket medical costs. What are these changes and what do they mean for you?

What we now know about Morrison’s failed vaccine rollout

Date Published: 04/06/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

The Morrison Government’s bungled vaccination rollout has put workers and vulnerable people at potentionally deadly risk, writes Chloe Ward.

Without wage increases, this budget is a failure

Date Published: 13/05/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

The budget has failed as a plan to revive Australia’s social infrastructure and as a plan for economic recovery, writes Chloe Ward

In Joe Biden’s America, climate transition goes hand in hand with job creation

Date Published: 23/04/2021
Category: Analysis Climate

Our international partners are getting on with transitioning to a zero-carbon economy, showing climate transition can go hand in hand with job creation, but the Morrison government continue to make excuses for their inaction.

Making the case for a living wage

Date Published: 09/04/2021
Category: Analysis Minimum wage Working life

A real, meaningful increase to the minimum wage is not only the right thing to do, but makes plenty of sense, writes Chloe Ward.

The end of JobKeeper…. and those left behind

Date Published: 02/04/2021
Category: Analysis Workers rights Working life

This time last year, Australian Unions fought for, and won, JobKeeper. This week, the Morrison Government has taken it away, with no plans for a replacement, writes Chloe Ward.

As the floods recede, workers are being sold down the river

Date Published: 26/03/2021
Category: Analysis Workers rights Working life

This week’s floods in New South Wales are a warning of things to come—and of what we must do to support workers through the challenges of climate change, writes Chloe Ward.

A win for workers—and another betrayal by the Morrison Government

The Morrison Government’s IR Bill passed the Senate yesterday, stripped of all but one of its major provisions. This was a win for unions, workers, and the community who campaigned against the changes, writes Chloe Ward.

Enough is enough – 5 takeaways from #March4Justice

Date Published: 16/03/2021
Category: Analysis Human Rights Working women

Thousands of people have taken to the streets to voice their anger at the sexual violence faced by women in Australia and the failings of the Government to take meaningful action against it.
What did we learn?

Meet the workers facing the worst of the Morrison Government’s IR Bill

Date Published: 12/03/2021
Category: Analysis Workers rights Working life

You’ve heard a lot from me about the dangers of the Morrison Government’s IR Omnibus Bill. That’s because it’s important. It will entrench casualisation, undermine wages and conditions, and stall Australia’s recovery from the Covid-19 recession.

Families like mine deserve to have confidence in aged care

Date Published: 04/03/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

Like many who have seen Australia’s aged care system up close, I wasn’t surprised by the Royal Commission into Aged Care’s damning conclusions.

Sexual harassment: Australian workers deserve much, much better

Date Published: 26/02/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

In the past two weeks, we have seen Scott Morrison and his ministers do everything they can to avoid scrutiny, and accountability, for their botched response to Brittany Higgins’ accusation of rape against a former Liberal Party colleague.

There could not be a greater contrast with Higgins’ courage, determination, and clarity.

It may have changed, but Morrison’s IR bill is still a threat to workers

Date Published: 19/02/2021
Category: Analysis Working life

The Morrison Government’s backdown on one of the most dangerous parts of its industrial relations bill is a step in the right direction for workers—but this fight is far from over.

End JobKeeper Uncertainty

Date Published: 15/02/2021
Category: Analysis Job security

End the uncertainty and anxiety about the future of JobKeeper.

That was the message from ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus, to Scott Morrison on ABC TV’s “Insiders” yesterday.

Why the Government’s IR Bill is so dangerous and extreme

Date Published: 08/02/2021
Category: Analysis Industrial Relations

The Senate Inquiry into the Government’s dangerous and extreme industrial relations Bill has just begun.

The Morrison Government’s industrial relations bill will hurt workers, and hurt the economy

Date Published: 05/02/2021
Category: Analysis Industrial Relations Workers rights Working life

With Federal Parliament back in session, the fight over the Morrison Government’s Industrial Relations Bill is heating up.

Australian Unions oppose the Coalition’s dangerous plans—because they’re bad for wages, bad for workers’ conditions, and bad for the economy.

First job/worst job and Lisa Alexander, world championship Australian netball coach

Date Published: 24/11/2020
Category: Analysis

As a “get to know you” – we should each do “First Job/Worst Job”, talking
about our first ever job and the job the job from hell we once had.

Paid pandemic leave – what is it and why do we need it?

Date Published: 10/08/2020
Category: Analysis Covid-19 Workers rights

In what’s been an already devasting year, it’s fair to say Victorians have had an especially rough week.

The Australian Unions Supporter Program

Date Published: 29/07/2020
Category: Analysis

In July 2020, Australian Unions launched a new program to enable workers who are not eligible for union membership to support and engage with the union movement.

In Conversation: Young Workers

Date Published: 22/07/2020
Category: Analysis Covid-19

Michele O’Neil interviewed young workers and how they were affected by COVID-19.

Paid pandemic leave for all

Date Published: 09/07/2020
Category: Analysis Covid-19

After tribunal rejection, ACTU doubles down on paid pandemic leave for all.

IR reform discussions

Date Published: 25/06/2020
Category: Analysis

Check out our special briefing from Sally McManus about the discussions that we are having with the Morrison Government.

The minimum wage will increase 2020

Date Published: 21/06/2020
Category: Analysis Minimum wage

Each year, Australian Unions works to increase the minimum wage for all workers.

Four Zoom Virtual Backgrounds for Unionists to Download

Date Published: 06/05/2020
Category: Analysis

With Zoom becoming the go to platform for work and social gatherings the Australian Unions team has created some union inspired virtual Zoom backgrounds.

Can Our Boss Charge Us For Breakages

Date Published: 10/09/2018
Category: Analysis Workers rights

R asks:
There was a thing on the noticeboard at work from the owner saying that those of us who worked last Saturday night would have our pay docked as a tray of glasses was dropped when someone slipped loading the glass washer and everything got broken.

How Do I Make My Workplace Safe?

Date Published: 22/05/2018
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Francesca asks:
One of my finds sliced open his hand at work over the weekend.

Job Hunting and Facebook: Approach with Caution

Date Published: 02/02/2018
Category: Analysis Working life

 Sanjeev asks:
I finished year 12 last year and I’m starting to look for a job.

Do Work Rules Apply at Work Parties?

Date Published: 29/11/2017
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Daniel asks:
What’s the go with work functions? There were drinks last week for one of the people who were retiring.

Should Apprentices Be Paid for Going to Training?

Date Published: 12/10/2017
Category: Analysis

Wassim asks: I’m going to start an apprenticeship to be a mechanic next month. I’m worried because I can’t afford to take time off from work to go to TAFE. My sister says I should be paid when I go to TAFE. Is she right? Congratulations Wassim! I have some good news for you –…

No One Talks To Me At work

Date Published: 01/09/2017
Category: Analysis

K asks: I have been here for two months and no one talks to me.

My boss has asked me to get an ABN

Date Published: 21/08/2017
Category: Analysis

Alanna asks: I  work as a permanent staff member in the kitchen out the back of a gourmet shop making cakes and biscuits, which are sold in the shop.

underpaid wages

Date Published: 07/08/2017
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Jordan asks: I am currently working for a company that is not paying our tax or super and doesn’t give us pay slips.

Our Tax system is broken

Date Published: 08/06/2017
Category: Analysis

About Australia’s wage growth is at a record low, but the Government wants to give a $65 billion dollar tax cut to big business. Big business has too much power, and this is just more special treatment from the Government. Many businesses already thumb their noses at paying their taxes, exploiting loopholes to offshore profits…

ACTU mourns loss of New Zealand union leader Helen Kelly

Date Published: 14/10/2016
Category: Analysis

The trade union movement has suffered a devastating loss, with the passing yesterday of Helen Kelly, the former President of New Zealand’s Council of Trade Unions.

Underemployment a growing conversation

Date Published: 21/09/2016
Category: Analysis

Last week’s ABS employment data raised the usual discussion about unemployment trends across the country.

The Prime Minister is right: there is a moral aspect to economics, just not in the way he thinks

Date Published: 19/09/2016
Category: Analysis

By Ged Kearney, ACTU President
Malcolm Turnbull’s recent description of budget management as a ‘moral challenge’ suggests that he is aware of the complex, real world stakes at play.

Government must act on gender pay gap

Date Published: 08/09/2016
Category: Analysis

By Ged Kearney, President of the ACTU
Today is Equal Pay Day.

Six things to look for as parliament returns

Date Published: 29/08/2016
Category: Analysis

The long awaited return of Parliament is tomorrow, and there are plenty of interesting storylines to look out for as the 45th Parliament begins.

Trickle down inequality exposed

Date Published: 23/08/2016
Category: Analysis

One of the defining concepts that underpins much of Malcolm Turnbull’s economic ideas – and pretty much every conservative government going back to Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s – is the belief in “trickle down”.

Fifty years since the Wave Hill Walk Off

Date Published: 22/08/2016
Category: Analysis

The Wave Hill Walk Off was one of the key events of modern Australian history.

Support for asbestos victims

Date Published: 16/06/2015
Category: Analysis

Maree asks: We just found out yesterday that my dad has mesothelioma.

Should I be paid for any overtime I work?

Date Published: 24/04/2015
Category: Analysis Industrial Relations Workers rights

Leonie asks: I work for the local council and I’ve just now changed jobs within the council.

Do I still get penalty rates if I’m sick that day?

Date Published: 17/04/2015
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Erin asks: If I normally work on a day when a public holiday falls but I’m sick on that day and so don’t go in, would I get penalty rates?Penalty rates are payable if people work on a public holiday, but aren’t paid if the day is taken off.

Am I being paid correctly under my award?

Date Published: 01/12/2014
Category: Analysis Industrial Relations Workers rights

Leon asks: My employer says she doesn’t have to pay me the amount set down in the Award as when I started working for her the Award said I was paid at a lower rate.

Light duties when pregnant

Date Published: 27/10/2014
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Laurel asks: I’m pregnant but I haven’t told my boss yet.

What are my rights when working in heat?

Date Published: 20/10/2014
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Casey asks: I’m working at a kitchen that is non-ventilated and is already reaching 33 degrees.

owed money

Date Published: 13/02/2014
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Kate asks: I have constantly been underpaid since starting in my current position.

Non family related leave

Date Published: 10/02/2014
Category: Analysis

Joan asks: Is it possible to get extra leave for things aren’t family related? Like moving house or taking an animal to the vet?Extra leave, which isn’t covered by the NES (such as moving leave or pet related leave) is the sort of entitlement that can be negotiated for by a union in an Enterprise  Bargaining Agreement.

How to deal with a written warning

Date Published: 25/10/2013
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Sandra asks: I have been given a written warning at work for talking behind people’s backs; they said I am the worst one at this in our store.

Frequently Asked Questions

Date Published: 05/06/2013
Category: Analysis

My employer says I can’t join the union, is that true? Do I have to tell my employer if I join?

Help for the Security industry

Date Published: 03/06/2013
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Question posted by Michael: Hi, I am wondering if anyone can point me in the correct direction regarding what union to join etc, I work in the security industry and to be honest I am sick of the BS, the company I currently works for has basically lied time and time again about rosters, fly in and fly out dates and the change of roster regarding pay.

Injury at work

Date Published: 02/06/2013
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Question posted by John: I injured the tendons in my hand at work and I had to work the next day and my hand swelled up.

Apprentice Pay?

Date Published: 02/06/2013
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Question posted by Glenn: I am currently a third year apprentice chef for a pub/ hotel, with no accommodation I am 25 years old and I receive $13 an hour, no extra money for the weekend and I am full time.

No pay for compulsory training?

Date Published: 02/06/2013
Category: Analysis Workers rights

Question posted by Sonia: My husband is a disability support worker who attended a compulsory training course in work hours and was told he was not going to be paid for that time.