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Despite public perception, figures indicate that white collar workers are more likely to be a member of a union than people working in traditionally blue collar professions. Shutterstock

Three charts on: the changing face of Australian union members

Union membership continues to fall, particularly within industries that traditionally claim a strong union heritage.
Modern working conditions are forcing unions to alter the way they are structured. Search Results Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation

Three strategies unions are considering for their survival

There are some different strategies unions are now considering to help these organisations survive in a changing economy.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus has pushed for MPs to pass a bill to stop the phasing in of penalty rate cuts. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Sunday penalty rates to be phased down

The Fair Work Commission said reductions in rates were more significant in retail and pharmacy than in hospitality and fast food.
A Canberra barista makes coffee. Many low-paid workers will be affected by the Fair Work Commission’s decision on penalty rates. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: where to from here on penalty rates?

The government has a major headache on its hands with the proposed cuts to penalty rates, which could haunt it all the way to the next election.
ACTU president Ged Kearney called on Malcolm Turnbull ‘to stand up for workers in this country, to actually change the laws to protect people’s pay’. Alex Murray/AAP

Sunday penalty rates cut opens new fight between government and opposition

Hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy workers stand to lose thousands of dollars per year after the Fair Work Commission's landmark decision to cut penalty rates on Sundays and public holidays.
It’s not easy to walk away from an abusive relationship without the support of a flexible employer. AAP Image/Angela Brkic

Paid domestic violence leave: how do other countries do it?

It's uncommon internationally for workers to have a statutory right to paid domestic violence leave, but things may be shifting.
ACTU president Ged Kearney is one of the 38.5% of Australian union secretaries who is female. AAP

Why wooing women is the way forward for trade unions

Female workers are now more highly unionised than their male colleagues, but unions still have a long way to go to reflect that shift.
Royal commissioner Dyson Heydon’s position is untenable, according to Labor Senate leader Penny Wong. Joel Carrett/AAP

Heydon will consider bias claims on Friday

The ACTU will ask the royal commissioner into trade union corruption, Dyson Heydon, to disqualify himself – an application he will hear on Friday.
Business, environmental, trade union and social groups all see advantages in looking beyond high-emission industries such as coal-fired power. Nick Pitsas/CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s ‘climate roundtable’ could unite old foes and end the carbon deadlock

The Australian Climate Roundtable unites business, environmental and social groups in calling for a strong climate policy. This unprecedented show of unity might even break down Canberra's climate stalemate.
Millions of workers struggle on the emerging periphery while those at the core enjoy the benefits of stability and skills. Shutterstock

Life on edge as new divide ignored

The Fair Work Commission’s recent wage review may have struck an increased pay deal for low-paid workers but its decision overlooks the growth of a worrying new divide in the Australian workforce. With…
Should we continue to increase the minimum wage, or are there more effective ways to protect low income earners? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

What future for the minimum wage?

Shortly the Fair Work Commission will announce their decision on the minimum wage for 2013. This will be based on its own research and balancing the claims of employers, unions and others. The ACTU is…
ACTU secretary Dave Oliver has called on the government to increase the minimum wage to combat growing income inequality in Australia. AAP

Why the ACTU needs to hold the line on the minimum wage

The recent Four Corners documentary on poverty in the United States is a salutary reminder of why the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) needs to hold the line on minimum wages in relation to average…
Casual workers can often feel as though they are being treated as a commodity by their employers. katiemarinascott

Labour in vain: casualisation presents a precarious future for workers

Welcome to the Future of Work, a series from The Conversation that looks at the ongoing evolution of the workplace. Today, Monash University’s Veronica Sheen examines the consequences of the increasing…
Equal pay is not the only obstacle women face in the labour market: there’s also higher unemployment, underemployment, and heightened risk of job insecurity. Victor

Mind the gap, but there’s more to gender equality than pay parity

The quest for equal pay between men and women represents one of the oldest battle lines for feminism. The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) finds that women’s wages are now 17.4…
Joe Hockey has long extolled the virtues of hard work and the capacity for businesses to remain globally competitive, but an increasingly casualised workforce is exacerbating a divide between secure and insecure workers. AAP

Hockey’s work-hard mantra will hardly work in an era of job insecurity

The ACTU released the report Lives on hold: unlocking the potential of Australia’s workforce summing up the findings of its six month inquiry into insecure employment chaired by Brian Howe at its Congress…
Long-term job insecurity affects the quality of life for many women. vlima

Social policy can secure a better future for working women

Against a backdrop of international economic uncertainty, there are pressures for greater labour flexibility as employers complain of costs and reduced competitiveness with the high Australian dollar…
Apprenticeships are an integral part of our workforce. AAP

It’s time to overhaul Australia’s apprenticeship scheme

The ACTU is escalating a push through its case with Fair Work Australia to improve the wages of apprentices, many of whom are paid below the poverty line. There is a case for this and it is long overdue…

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