Being a union member protects you at work

If you had an expensive car, would you insure it? Do you insure your house or other possessions?

Do you ever think of taking out medical insurance?

Union membership is a bit like insurance. It's a way of making your job as safe as possible.

It means you always have someone to call if you can't get the info you need out of your Human Resources Department (if you have one). Someone to ask if you're in a spot of bother, there's talk of redundancies, or you're worried you're not being paid properly.

And because the union knows what happens across many workplaces, we can tell you what's a reasonable standard for workplaces like yours.

We're experts in working conditions - and we can help you with yours.

Being a union member gives you a say

Industrial awards and enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs) are negotiated by the union on your behalf.

This work is paid for by members, and members get a say in what is negotiated for your workplace.

So if you're a member, you get a say.

Under Australian law, you have a right to be a union member, and you must not be discriminated against for being a member. So, given that membership protects you and gives you a say, why not be part of it?

There's strength in numbers

There is clear evidence [source] across many industries that the more union members there are, the better the pay and conditions.

Amongst teachers for example, the highest level of union membership (about 80 per cent) is found in Queensland.

It's no coincidence that Queensland teachers have the highest rates of pay of any teachers in Australia.

Making workplaces better

The CWU is committed to pursuing the best way to get favourable outcomes for our members.

Where employers are willing to negotiate and work collaboratively, we will work with your employer to identify the issues of concern, represent you and other staff to your employer and find effective solutions to improve your work conditions and environment.

We find that working together is the best and quickest way to get results for our members. And this way, you don't have the pressure of having to negotiate with your boss yourself and you are represented by experts in workplace relations.

Sometimes we need to use all the legal powers available to make your voice heard. That might mean the union supporting you and your workplace colleagues taking industrial action or getting a hearing before an independent arbitrator, like Fair Work Australia.

The union is here to help you

As a member, you can call your union at any time to get advice on employment issues. You might want to know how to lodge a grievance, if your pay rate is correct or which award you're covered by.

Or you might want to know what sick leave or compassionate leave entitlements you have, or whether you're entitled to overtime.

Sometimes you might need help with something more serious, like redundancy or retrenchment, a grievance, workers compensation or unfair dismissal.

The union's staff are experts in these areas. We can talk by phone, communicate by email, or meet in person if it is necessary.

We're your own personal expert advisory service!

If an issue gets really serious, the union may also agree to represent you in a formal industrial hearing.

Being a union member saves you money

Each state and territory branch of the CWU offers slightly different benefits, but in general, the savings you can get by being a union member will outweigh the cost of membership. That means that if you take advantage of these savings, your union membership is effectively free!

Some of the benefits offered include:

  • Journey insurance - to cover you when you are traveling to and from work
  • Union Shopper - your own personal shopping service can save you heaps on those larger items like washing machines, fridges, TVs and furniture
  • Low cost banking - being a union member entitles you to special treatment at ME bank, including a saving on the normal variable interest rate (this could save you thousands on a home loan), and for some credit unions.
  • Legal advice - CWU has established a network of alliances with a number of major legal firms, including Slater and Gordon, which have experience in representing members in issues affecting their working lives. In many cases, the first consultation is free.

    In addition to all of that, as union fees are tax deductible most members get back close to 1/3 of their union fees in their tax return.

    The union drives significant improvements in workers' conditions

    Throughout history, all major positive changes to employment conditions have been as a result of union action.

    These include

  • The right of workers to form a union which elects its own independent representatives
  • Awards to ensure that employers observe minimum wages and working conditions
  • Minimum wage
  • Equal pay
  • Long service leave
  • Pay loading for evenings, nights and weekends
  • Paid public holidays
  • Periodic wage increases
  • Maternity/adoption/parental leave
  • Annual leave and leave loading
  • Protective clothing and equipment provided by the employer
  • Occupational health and safety laws
  • Compensation for injury
  • Occupational superannuation
  • The right to be given notice and to be consulted about changes at work (eg new technology, planned retrenchments, new working arrangements)
  • Personal carer's leave.

    Joining the union makes you part of the the process of creating a better future for Australian workers.

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