Part-time, casual and women workers are benefiting most from union membership, earning up to 43% more than their non-union colleagues, according to Australian income figures released today.

The unpublished data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that overall, union members on average earn an extra $99 a week, or 15% more, than non-union members.

The benefits of union membership are even greater for part-time, casual, women and teenage workers. According to the ABS data commissioned by the ACTU:


  • part-time employees who are union members last year earned on average 42.9% or $129 per week more than non-union members
  • women union members averaged 24% or $123 per week more than women who are not union members
  • casual union members earned 16.2% or $64 per week more than non-members
  • 15 to 19-year-olds who are union members earned 20.2%, or $40 per week, more than non-members. The results follow ABS figures released last month showing that the number of union members in Australia increased for the second consecutive year in 2001, with the fastest growth among casual employees (up 7.6%) and part-time workers (up 6.4%).

    ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the figures clearly demonstrated the increasing relevance of unions to part-time, casual, women and young workers.

    “The results show that wages for union members are growing faster than for non-members in industries including communication services, finance, insurance, utilities and mining,” Ms Burrow said.

    “Union members working in accommodation, cafes, restaurants, transport, storage and education are all taking home on average more than 30% extra than non-union members in their industries.”