The history of the Australian Services Union reflects the ambitious nature of the union today. 

Through the union, our members gained equal pay for women in the community services sector, delivering the first ever workplace agreement to provide domestic violence leave and protecting hard won conditions and entitlements. 

We were the first to organise white collar workers known as clerks during the early years of Federation, the first to organise today’s digital economy (then known as the computing industry) and responsible for defining a recognised ‘industry’ in social and community services which had previously not been recognised. 

We continue to extend on the role the union has played over more than a century, taking on issues others see as too hard, or too ambitious. See what achievements we made in our last decade, as we look forward to what we can achieve together in the decade to come.  

Recent history of the ASU:

+ 2010
  • Australia-first, Domestic Violence Leave: ASU reaches first agreement to gain victims of domestic violence 20 days of paid leave. This Australia-first deal between the Surf Coast Shire Council and the Australian Services Union Victorian and Tasmanian Authorities & Services Branch, was the world's most progressive workplace agreement on family violence at that time. Since then millions of workers across many industries have been covered by similar agreements supported by their unions, using the ASU template.
  • Torres Strait Islanders gain ceremonial leave: ASU advocacy through the Fair Work Commission changes modern awards to include Torres Strait Islanders access to 10 days ceremonial leave - a clear oversight that was acted upon by the ASU.
+ 2012
  • Historic Equal Pay Decision: In 2012, Social and Community Services (SACS) workers were handed long-awaited pay rises in a historic decision by the Fair Work Commission in the equal pay case. The announcement was the culmination of a long journey of dedicated SACS workers from Victoria and Tasmania who joined with workers from all over Australia to fight to have the value of their work properly recognised.
+ 2017
  • Federal Government Abandoned Changes to Paid Parental Leave: ASU members working together stared down the threat by the Federal Government to remove the hard won Paid Parental Leave rights in over 420 ASU agreements. We are ambitious to see our members with good pay and leave entitlements. 
+ 2021
  • ASU members in the disability and community sector improve their conditions in the Fair Work Commission. Part time disability workers gained a minimum 2-hour payment. Part timers working in the community sector also won a minimum 3 hour payment. Part timers now able to refuse additional hours. 
+ 2022
  • After years of campaigning by ASU members, the $450 per month earning threshold for the superannuation guarantee was finally scrapped. Together, members of the ASU, SDA and ANMF ensured workers earning under $450 per month from a single employer get super on every dollar they earn. This issue disproportionately impacted affected young, lower-income and part-time workers – the majority of whom are women – and stopped them from earning super.
  • In 2022, huge wins came to fruition due to the efforts of ASU members in the campaign for paid domestic violence leave. After over a decade-long campaign led by ASU members calling for a minimum of ten days paid domestic violence leave, on 16 May 2022, the Fair Work Commission made an in-principle decision that allowed 2.66 million workers covered by Modern Awards to access to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave. Then on 28 July 2022, Tony Burke (Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) introduced a Bill to Parliament regarding legislation to implement 10 days of domestic violence and family leave into the National Employment Standards (NES) following calls from the ASU that this lifesaving leave would save lives. Such legislation will give 11 million Australians access to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave.
I believe in individual workers coming together in unity for the collective good of all workers
Madelaine Landini, ASU delegate

Climate action

ASU members organising for climate action. From extreme weather to climate disasters, changing work and cost-shifting by employers, workers are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Psychosocial hazards are any factors at work that inc 1/03/2023