SA Unions

SA Unions (originally the United Trades and Labour Council of South Australia) is the peak body for trade unions in South Australia. It coordinates political, social, economic, and industrial campaigns between its affiliate members and implements the policies of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in South Australia.

SA Unions
TypePeak trade union body
Headquarters170 Greenhill Road, Parkside SA 5063
Angas Story
Jamie Newlyn
Vice President
Liz Temple
Parent organisation
Australian Council of Trade Unions
Formerly called
United Trades and Labour Council of South Australia


As well as implementing policy within South Australia, SA Unions aims to maximise the union movement's effect in political, social, economic and industrial issues; defend and extend the rights of working people and all disadvantaged members of the community; increase the support and relevance of unions; and provide leadership and co-ordination in issues of broad concern to unions and the community.

During the 2014 state election, SA Unions ran a targeted campaign of over 190,000 robocalls against Nick Xenophon and his ticket, the Nick Xenophon Team, in response to their policy of reducing penalty rates for weekend workers.[1][2]


SA Unions operates two in-house legal services. The Workers Compensation Service provides free advocacy and dispute resolution to workers undergoing a workers compensation claim.[3]

The Young Workers Legal Service provides free legal assistance to non-unionised workers under the age of 30 who are experiencing an industrial law dispute. The service is staffed by law student volunteers, and has recovered over $1 million in unpaid entitlements since it was created in 2003.[4]

Affiliated organisations

SA Unions is affiliated with 27 unions within South Australia, including the Australian Education Union (AEU), Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), Australian Services Union (ASU), Australian Workers' Union (AWU), Communications, Electrical, and Plumbing Union (CEPU), Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), United Firefighters Union (UFU), and United Voice (UV).[5]


A United Trades and Labor Council meeting with the purpose of creating an elections committee was convened on 12 December 1890, and held on 7 January 1891. The elections committee was formed, marking the inception of what is today known as the Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch). Originally known as the United Labor Party of South Australia, the party enjoyed immediate success, electing parliamentarians just four months later, and immediately held the balance of power with 10 of 54 seats resulting from the 1893 election, allowing radical liberal Charles Kingston to defeat the conservative John Downer government. Kingston served as Premier of South Australia for a then-record of six and a half years, usually implementing legislation with Labor support. Thomas Price formed the state's first Labor minority government and the world's first stable Labor Party government at the 1905 election with the support of several non-Labor MPs to form the Price-Peake administration, which was re-elected at the 1906 double dissolution election, with Labor falling just two seats short of a majority. So successful, John Verran led Labor to form the state's first of many majority governments at the 1910 election, just two weeks after the 1910 federal election where their federal counterparts formed Australia's first elected majority in either house in the Parliament of Australia, the world's first Labor Party majority government at a national level, and after the 1904 Chris Watson minority government the world's second Labor Party government at a national level.[6][7][8] The Australian Labor Party at both a federal and state/colony level pre-dates, among others, both the British Labour Party and the New Zealand Labour Party in party formation, government, and policy implementation.[9] In less than two decades the party in South Australia went from inception to majority government, and would continue to this day as one of the two major parties in the bicameral Parliament of South Australia, the other being the Liberal Party of Australia (South Australian Division) created in 1974, and its predecessors.

The United Trades and Labour Council was central to fundraising and building support for the creation of the Port Adelaide Workers Memorial.[10] SA Unions continues to have representatives on the committee managing the memorial.

See also


  1. "Media Release: Xenophon's plan risks the take home pay of 65,000 working South Australians". Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  2. Winter, Caroline (2014-03-11). "Mr X union target". ABC Radio. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  3. "Workers Compensation Service". Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  4. Stokes, Katrine (3 January 2012). "Legal service reclaims $1m for ripped-off workers". The Advertiser. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  5. "Affiliated unions list". Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  6. History of South Australian elections 1857-2006, volume 1 - ECSA
  7. Sound of Trumpets: History of the Labour Movement in South Australia - By Jim Moss
  8. Why did a 'labour movement' emerge in South Australia in the 1880s? - By Nicholas Klar
  9. "Australian Labor Party". 6 October 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  10. "Workers Memorial: History of the scheme". Daily Herald. 26 July 1918.
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