What's a union?

Unions are organisations made up of employees, usually from the same industry or similar industries. They represent their members on employment rights and bargain with employers about members’ pay and conditions, for example when they’re negotiating a new agreement.

Unions are registered with the Fair Work Commission External link icon. See our Registered organisations page for a list of all organisations that are registered with the Fair Work Commission, including unions and employer organisations.

Freedom of association

All employees have the right to join or not join a union. No one is allowed to pressure you to make a decision about joining, not joining or leaving a union.

Important! An employer cannot dismiss an employee because they do or don’t belong to a union. This is covered by the general protections under the Fair Work Act 2009. See our Coercion & workplace rights page if this has happened to you.

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Page last updated: 08 Jan 2013