Since its formation in 1927, the ACTU has been the peak trade union body in Australia. There is no other national confederation representing unions. For more than 90 years, the ACTU has played the leading role in advocating in the Fair Work Commission, and its statutory predecessors, for the improvement of employment conditions of employees. It has consulted with governments in the development of almost every legislative measure concerning employment conditions and trade union regulation over that period.
The ACTU consists of affiliated unions and State and regional trades and labour councils. There are currently 39 ACTU affiliates. They have approximately 2 million members who are engaged across a broad spectrum of industries and occupations in the public and private sector.
The protection and enhancement of every worker’s fundamental right to a safe and healthy working life has always been, and remains, a core goal of the ACTU and its affiliates.
The stated intention of the Application for Authorisation by the Australian Engineered Stone Advisory Group [AESAG} in establishing an accreditation scheme for Fabricators of engineered stone is to improve health and safety performance. This is commendable, but worryingly, the substance of the proposed scheme falls short of what is currently required by health and safety laws and therefore has the potential to undermine the current and future regulatory framework. Additionally, the timing and lack of consultation with unions, workers or work health and safety regulators prior to submitting the application raises serious concerns about the motivation for the application.
The ACTU submission to the National Dust Disease Taskforce, Preventing dust diseases: strengthening the protections for workers, recommended actions required to protect workers from respirable crystalline silica.