The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) today celebrates its 90th anniversary.

Since the ACTU was founded on this day in 1927 we have seen what at that time would have seemed unfathomable improvements in the lives of working people in Australia.

All modern leave entitlements were won, established and expanded because of the Australian union movement; the right to equal pay for women, the 40 hour week, superannuation, Medicare, paid parental leave, safety standards in workplaces across the country and countless other conditions which have fundamentally improved the lives of working people.

But anniversaries mean very little to people facing pay cuts or worrying that being affected by domestic violence might force them out of a job. We are fighting for working people today, with campaigns and cases being run to establish a leave entitlement for people affected by domestic violence, a significant increase in the minimum wage and to protect penalty rates for some of the lowest paid workers in Australia.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“The Australian trade union movement has been, and continues to be, the greatest force for change working people have for improving their lives, the lives of their families and their communities.”

“Australian unions built the living standards that underpin our way of life.”

“We are proud of our achievements, we will fight to defend them and we will lead our movement to give working people stronger and better rights at work.”

“Australian unions embody the Australian values of mateship, a fair go and sticking up for the underdog and we are proud of that.”

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

“The trade union movement has transformed working life in Australia for the past 90 years, leading the world in implementing the social safety net, as well as workplace conditions and entitlements that we now take for granted.”

“We must never allow the progress we have made to make us complacent. There is always more to be done.”

“To all Australian workers, to all Australians who feel that there is no one looking out for their interests, join your union, we are already fighting for you.”