30 min read


Last updated December 2023

This chapter outlines your rights and obligations when dealing with unions, as well as when a union may become involved in your workplace and what you need to do if that happens.

What is a union?

Definition: Union

A union is either:
- an employee organisation that is registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth) (FWRO Act); or
- an association of employees or independent contractors that is registered under a state or territory industrial law.

Most unions in Australia are registered under the  FWRO Act. However, some unions operating in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania are registered under legislation operating in those states.

Important: In this chapter, references to unions refer to unions that are registered under the FWRO Act.
Tip: Click here to view the Fair Work Commission's list of organisations registered under the FWRO Act.

Union registration

Registration under the FWRO Act or state legislation makes the union a separate legal entity from its members, like a company, and allows unions to participate in the statutory framework regulating industrial relations.