About the ACTU

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.