The union movement won compulsory employer-paid superannuation through national worker-led campaigns.  The superannuation system is today one of the labour movement’s proudest achievements. As a result, nearly every worker in Australia has an industrial right to superannuation.

Superannuation is core union business.  Winning super meant we were able to build one of the largest and best retirement systems in the world.  We are now making sure that every union member gets the best possible deal in superannuation.

Too many workers are ripped off without knowing it.  Their employers put them in dud for-profit super funds.  They retire with too little to live on, and by then it is too late.

Industry super funds have a strong history of good returns with low fees.  They deliver all their profits to members and do not siphon money off for shareholders.  Instead, many for-profit funds – mainly owned by big banks – have ripped off their customers, delivering poor returns, and charging massive fees.  These for-profit funds are another way for big businesses to take money out of workers’ retirement savings.

That is why we need to make sure that each agreement ensures workers’ money goes to funds which benefit workers.

Nearly one in three workers have their super stolen – this is wage theft.  When a model clause is written into an EBA, workers and their unions can take action to recover stolen superannuation.  Without a model clause there is no right to take action, leaving workers stranded with the Australian Tax Office whose process is slow and ineffective.

There are important practical steps unions can take when bargaining to protect workers from being ripped off.

This kit highlights default clauses you can incorporate into your next agreement.