Map of ACTU amalgamations 1993

The CWU has a long and proud history of protecting its members. Find out how it got there, along with other major trade union achievements.

A long and proud history

The CWU has a long and proud history representing and protecting Australia's communication industry workers. Since the turn of the last century, communication workers have supported the CWU and its predecessor trade unions to better their wages and conditions.?Your union, CWU, has its roots grounded in the various unions who have emerged to represent workers in the postal and telecommunications industries.

From 1912 with the formation of the Australian Letter Carriers Association, the Australian Post and Telegraph Officers Association Union or Australian Postal Electricians Union - these unions have come together over time, recognizing the importance of unity and solidarity in the defence and advance of our members interests.

As a member of the CWU you are joining an organisation with a proud history of representing Australia's communication workers.

Prior to 1900 - Before Australian Federation there were a range of state-based trade unions representing communication workers, such as the various state Post and Telegraph Associations (the earliest formed in 1885), the Queensland Letter Carriers Union (1885) and the NSW Carriers, Mail Boys and Mail Drivers Association (1889). These went on to amalgamate and eventually join together with other postal and telecommunications trade unions.

1900 - Australian Commonwealth Post and Telegraph Officers Association (ACPTOA) formed from the joining together of 7 state associations - the first federal trade union in Australia's history.

1912 - Australian Letter Carriers Association (ALCA), Australian Telegraph Telephone Construction and Maintenance Union (ATTCMU) and Australian Postal Electricians Union (APEU) formed.

1913 - Postal Sorters Union of Australia (PSUA) formed.?1914 - General Division Telephone Traffic Officers Association (GD TTOA)?1915 - GDTTOA renamed Commonwealth General Division Telephone Officers Association (CGDTOA). Line Inspectors Association (LIA) formed.

1917 - ACPTOA renamed the Australian Postal Assistants Union (APAU).?1919 - ATTCMU renamed the Australian Postal Linesmen's Union (APLU).

1920 - Australian Telegraphists Union formed (ATU).

1924 - CGDTOA renamed Commonwealth Telephone officers Association (CTOA). ALCA renamed the Commonwealth Public Service Fourth Division Employees Union of Australia (FDEUA).?1925 - FDEUA, PSUA and APLU merge to form the Amalgamated Postal Linesmen, Sorters and Letter Carriers Union of Australia (APLSLCUA). ATU renamed the Australian Telegraphists and Clerical Assistants Union (ATCAU). Postal Overseers Union of Australia (POUA) formed.

1926 - APLSLCUA renamed the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union of Australia (APWUA). APAU renamed the Fourth Division Postmasters Postal Clerks sand Telegraphists Union (PPCTU)

1926 - APLSLCUA affiliates to the postal, telegraph and telephone workers international trade union - the Postal, Telegraph and Telephone International (the PTTI). The PTTI would go on to become the Communications International (CI) and the now Union Network International (UNI).

1927 - ATCAU renamed Australian Third Division Telegraphists and Postal Clerks Union (ATPCU).

1934 - Technical Supervisory officers Association, Postmaster Generals Office (TSOA) formed.

1935 - TSOA renamed the Postal Electricians Supervisors & Foreman's Association, Postmaster Generals Department (PESFA).

1943 - APEU renamed Postal Telecommunications Technicians Association (Australia) (PTTA)?1945 - PESFA renamed the Supervising Technicians Association, Postmaster Generals Department (STA).

1950 - CTOA renamed Commonwealth Telephone and Phonogram Officers Association (CTPOA)?1966 - ATPCU merges with PPCTU to form the Union of Postal Clerks and Telegraphists (UPCT).

1971 - STA renamed the Telecommunications Technical Officers Association, Postmaster Generals Department (TTOA-PMG).?1974 - APWUA renamed the Australian Postal and Telecommunications Union?.

1975 - CTPOA renamed Australian Telephone and Phonogram Officers Association (ATPOA).

1976 - PTTA renamed Australian Telecommunications Employees Association (ATEA). TTOA-PMG renamed the Telecommunication Technical officers Association (TTOA).

1979 - POUA renamed Postal Supervisory Officers Association (PSOA).

1980 - LIA renamed the External Plant Officers Association (EPOA).?1988 - ATPOA and ATEA merge to form the ATEA/ATPOA.

1990 - UPCT merges with the APTU to form the Australia Postal Telecommunications Union (APTU).

1991 - TTOA and EPOA merge to form the Telecommunications Officers Association (TOA).

1992 - PSOA merges with APTU. ATEA/ATPOA and APTU merge to form the Communication Workers Union of Australia (CWUA).

1993 - TOA merges with the CWUA.

1994 - CWUA joins with Electrical, Electronic Plumbing and Allied Workers Union of Australia to form the CEPU. CWUA is now the CWU Division of the CEPU (the Communications Electrical Electronic Energy Information Postal Plumbing & Allied Services Union of Australia).

Through a Divisional structure, each branch of the CEPU operates autonomously and maintains a close relationship with its members.

See for more history