5 March 2015 Industry Update

Freedom of Association - Know Your Rights

Recent troubling reports of a union official in Queensland padlocking workers out of a smoko shed and throwing non-union members’ food on the ground has highlighted the importance of workers understanding the rules around freedom of association.

What is ‘Freedom of Association’?

Freedom of association laws mean that all employees and contractors have the right to join or not join a union.

It is therefore unlawful for anyone to pressure a worker about joining, not joining or leaving a union.

It is illegal to take or threaten to take adverse action against someone for being or not being a member of a union. For example, an employer cannot dismiss an employee for being or not being a member of a union.

Freedom of association laws also cover employers, allowing them to choose whether or not to join an employer association.

If you have been pressured to join or leave a union or employer association, we urge you to call our Hotline immediately on 1800 003 338.

For further, confidential information or advice regarding freedom of association and your rights please don’t hesitate to contact FWBC’s hotline on 1800 003 338, 7am – 5pm, Monday – Friday.

You can also find more information about freedom of association on FWBC’s website.

We value your feedback on our Industry Update. Please provide feedback or tell us what you would like in your update by contact James at media [at] fwbc.gov.au.

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