It Pays To Join A Union

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics proves that being a member of a union protects workers jobs, wages and conditions

The data also shows that union members earn, on average, $96 a week more than non- members.

"In boom times, workers may get by on their own in industries like offshore oil and gas," said MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. "But as the recession hits unions are playing an even bigger role in protecting wages, jobs and safety of workers. It pays to be in a union."

"This data shows unions are still relevant and strong," ACTU President Sharan Burrow. "In these tough economic times it is especially important for workers to be members of a union.

"Unions help protect jobs as well as workers' wages and conditions," she said

The ABS data shows that the average earnings of a union member is $1026 a week, which is $96 a week more than non-union members ($930). (Source: Table 14, p42 ABS 6310.0 Aug 2008)

Workers can get free help and advice over the phone and join a union immediately by calling the Unions Australia advice line -- 1300 4 UNION.

MEANWHILE a new report shows the economic importance of why Paid Parental Maternity Leave must be included in Federal Budget

The Australian Institute report Long Overdue: the Macroeconomic benefits of Pail Parental Maternity Leave, shows that a paid maternity leave scheme would create 9000 jobs, and cut the net cost of the scheme by $225 million.

The Maritime Union is backing the ACTU led campaign for paid parental leave, and including provisions for parental leave in all enterprise bargaining.

Members can support the campaign through the ACTU website