About the ACTU

Throughout our country’s history, Australian Unions have always been at the forefront of the struggle for the fair go.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is the peak body for Australian unions, made up of 38 affiliated unions who together represent almost 2 million workers and their families.

We provide a single representative union voice to the government and employers.

Since its creation in 1927, the ACTU has spearheaded some of the most fundamental workplace  and social struggles in Australia’s history.

The workplace improvements are many: decades of wage increases through the award system and campaigns in the field, safer workplaces, greater equality for women, improvements in working hours, entitlements to paid holidays and better employment conditions, the establishment of a universal superannuation system, paid parental leave and paid family and domestic violence leave.

The ACTU has played a role in all of these achievements. Every worker in Australia has benefited from the victories of the union movement.

The ACTU has contributed to fairness and justice in the entire community as well – contributing to Australia’s major social institutions, including progressive taxation, the social security system, universal Medicare, fairer migration, decent education – to name just a few.

The ACTU’s job is to organise working people in their union to win big, important and permanent improvements to work, workplaces and broader society. 

The ACTU doesn’t just talk about change. It makes it happen, through a shared vision and strength in numbers. If you believe that you can take action to make your work and society better, join with us as a union member

The ACTU’s role as peak body is to co-ordinate union campaigns, represent workers at a range of government and non-government forums in Australia and overseas, to provide industrial, policy and other support to affiliates, and encourage workers to join their union.

The ACTU has four elected officers, and an elected Executive of representatives from affiliates and state and territory trades and labour councils. The peak decision-making body, ACTU Congress, meets every three years.

Its head office is in Melbourne, with smaller offices in other state capitals.

The ACTU Network

Australian Unions

Whether you want to join a union, take action in campaigns, or make the most of the benefits of being a union member, Australian Unions is the place to go for information and resources.
Visit Australian Unions

Mind Your Head

We’re taking action to protect workplace mental health.
Visit Mind Your Head


Your rights at work for students and for people entering the workforce for the first time.
Visit Worksite


Information and resources for health and safety representatives and workers about how to speak up at work for health and safety.
Visit OHS

Union Aid Abroad

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA is the overseas aid and development agency of the ACTU. Our work aims to build self-reliance through support to educational and training projects for workers and their organisations in the developing world.
Visit Union Aid Abroad

ACTU National Union Directory

Find who you are looking for from the who’s who of the union movement.
Visit the ACTU National Union Dictionary
Australian Council of Trade Unions

Representing Australian workers and their families.