11 Facts About ACTU


The ACTU is a member of the International Trade Union Confederation.

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ACTU holds a biennial congress that is attended by approximately 800 delegates from affiliated organisations.

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Between congresses the ACTU is governed by an executive of 60 members: the president, the two vice-presidents, the secretary, the assistant secretaries, Trades and Labour Council representatives from each capital city and elected delegates from affiliated unions.

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ACTU has launched a service by which workers can join their applicable union directly through the ACTU.

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In 2008, the ACTU launched a campaign to make paid maternity leave a new national employment standard.

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In 2011, the ACTU launched a campaign to address the spread of casual, contract and other forms of insecure work in Australian workplaces.

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The ACTU was formed as the Australasian Council of Trade Unions in 1927 and was one of the earliest attempts by trade unions to apply the principles of One Big Union earlier explored by more radical syndicalist unions like the CNT or revolutionary industrial unions like the IWW.

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The ACTU has not achieved the ideals expressed for One Big Union: it remains a council organisation, but it does however represent the majority of Australian trade unions.

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At its formation in 1927 the ACTU was only seen as representing blue collar trades unions, and only managed to achieve the support of trades unions.

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The ACTU retains a close relationship with the Australian Labor Party: former ACTU President Bob Hawke went on to become the leader of the ALP and then Prime Minister of Australia.

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The ACTU's plans envisaged 20 super unions organised on an industrial basis.

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