If you’re looking for someone who can act for you as an advocate in situations in your workplace like employment agreements or help in finding out information and advice regarding work-related issues, you may want to consider joining a union.
Unions are organisations that represent groups of workers with employers, with unions available across many different industries. If thinking about joining, ensure that you are joining one that covers the work you do.
A registered union has to have at least 15 members, become an incorporated society, and, of course, register as a union.
Legally speaking, you have the right to choose whether or not you want to join a union (as an employee). You cannot be threatened, coerced or have undue pressure on you to do so, and your job should not be at risk for not joining the union.
If you choose to join a union, you will pay a membership fee, which can be paid directly or taken out of your wages.
An employer can’t discriminate against an employee in their employment because they’re involved in union activities. Union activities can include:
- being an officer, management committee member, delegate, representative or official of a union
- being a collective bargaining negotiator or representative
- participating in a lawful strike
- being involved in forming a union
- submitting a personal grievance
- being involved in making or supporting a claim for some benefit of an employment agreement
- applying for or taking employment relations education leave.
If you are considering joining a union, discuss your options with the union representatives beforehand, and ensure that you understand what the union will do for you.