Brief History of the ASU
The Australian Services Union is one of the largest and most diverse unions in Australia with members working in a range of service industries. There are 14 branches of the union located across the country. Through the process of union amalgamations over the last decade the ASU has evolved as a largely decentralised union.
Our branch of the Australian Services Union has a proud history, having its origins on the wharves in Queensland at the turn of the last century.
The union has grown in numbers and strength, despite having a membership that has traditionally been difficult to organise: white collar workers, most of whom are women.
Our branch of the ASU is the Central and Southern Queensland Clerical and Administrative Branch. It has its origins in the Federated Clerks Union, which came into being early in the 20th Century, following the struggles of workers during the great depressions of the 1880s and 1890s.
Clerks suffered wage cuts during the 1890 depression when their pay rates were already lower than those paid in other comparable areas of employment. In 1907, when the concept of the basic wage was introduced and fixed at forty-two shillings per week, the going rate for a clerk ranged between twenty-five and thirty shillings a week.
Between 1900 and 1907, attempts were made to organise clerks in different parts of Australia. A Victorian Union of Clerks was founded in 1901, and a South Australian Associate of Clerks and a Clerks' Union in New South Wales were formed in 1905. In 1911, the Federated Clerks' Union was registered in the Commonwealth Arbitration Court.
During this time, in Queensland, shipping clerks had become increasingly active. In 1914, the Queensland Association of Clerks linked up with the newly-registered federal body.
The first Federal Conference was held in 1916.
In 1993, the Federated Clerks' Union ceased to exist as a trade union when it amalgamated nationally and state-wide to form the ASU, the largest white-collar union in Australia. The ASU has approximately 120 000 members nationally, and our branch has about 10 000 members.
Our branch has members in a number of different industries, and focuses on organising members so that they can achieve change in their workplaces.
The Australian Services Union is one of the largest unions in Australia, with more than 140,000 members nation-wide.
Our members work as PAs, clerks, receptionists, admin officers, call centre operators, customer service officers, reservation agents, and telemarketers (as well as in just about any other administrative role you can think of).
ASU membership gives you access to our highly skilled organisers, who can give you advice on pay and conditions, health and safety issues, and support on discrimination, bullying and unfair dismissal matters.
The ASU has one of the strongest networks of trained Delegates and activists in the country, who can represent you on important local issues. Our Delegates give you a voice in the workplace, and a regular source of information and advice.
The ASU is run by members for members. Our democratic structure means ASU members in the workplace decide our policies and priorities - from local issues to national policies.
Our members work together to build fairer workplaces and communities through collective bargaining, campaigns, and lobbying.
Our Mission Statement
"ASU Members work to improve their working lives through industrial, political and social activism”