Labor Council of New South Wales

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search

Unions NSW
Labor Council of New South Wales
Founded1871; 153 years ago (1871)
HeadquartersSydney, New South Wales
  • Australia
Key people
Mark Morey, Secretary
Thomas John Costa, Assistant Secretary
Emma Maiden, Assistant Secretary

The Labor Council of New South Wales, branded Unions NSW, is the peak body for trade unions in the state of New South Wales, Australia. As of 2005 there are 67 unions and 8 Rural and Regional Trades & Labor Councils affiliated to the Labor Council, representing 800,000 workers in NSW. It is registered as the State Peak Council of Employees under Section 215 of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW). The council is affiliated with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).



The Labor Council was formed by six unions in 1871, and originally called the Trades & Labor Council of Sydney. The council experienced rapid growth during its early history, with the number of affiliated unions tripling between 1885 and 1890, and total membership reaching 35,000 in that year, or 60% of union members in the Colony of New South Wales.[1] By 1891, 21.5% of all employees in the colony were union members, making it the most organised workforce in the world.[1] Union organisation in the colony suffered badly during the economic depression of the 1890s, due to high unemployment, aggressive anti-union policies of employers and a number of large, unsuccessful strikes including the 1890 Australian maritime dispute and the 1891 Australian shearers strike.[1]

In 1894, the Trades & Labor Council of Sydney changed its name to the Sydney District of Australasian Labour Federation. In 1900, it again changed its name to the Sydney Labor Council, changing again eight years later to the Labor Council of New South Wales. In 2005, it adopted the brand name UnionsNSW for all public purposes, but retained the official name Labor Council of New South Wales.



The Labor Council of New South Wales is responsible for:

  • implementing Australian Council of Trade Unions policy within New South Wales
  • co-ordinating union activities and campaigns, involving more than one union
  • providing assistance with research, negotiations and advocacy to affiliated organisations
  • lobbying State Parliament for social and industrial reforms
  • providing a public point of contact for general enquiries on New South Wales unions
  • management of the Sydney Trades Hall, which was transferred in 2002 to the Labor Council from the original trustees, the Trades Hall Association.

Labor Council Secretaries

No Name Year Union
1 W. M. Ford 1871
2 Thomas White 1872 Seamen's Union of Australia
3 Angus Cameron 1873 Progressive Society of Carpenters and Joiners
4 Thomas White 1873 Seamen's Union of Australia
5 Frank B. Dixon 1873 Operative Stonemasons' Society
6 Angus Cameron 1874 Progressive Society of Carpenters and Joiners
7 Edward I. Aiken 1874
8 T. H. Hall 1876
9 W. Helstey 1880
10 William R. Roylance 1880 Operative Stonemasons' Society
11 J. E. West 1883 Operative Plumbers' Society
12 Frank B. Dixon 1883 Operative Stonemasons' Society
13 Thomas Symons 1884
14 James J. Cronin 1887 New South Wales Saddle, Harness and Collar Makers' Protective Society
15 Thomas J. Houghton 1888 New South Wales Typographical Association
16 John Riddell 1894 Operative Stonemasons' Society
17 J. P. Cochran 1894 United Labourers Union
18 T. H. Thrower 1903 United Furniture Trade Society
19 J. P. Cochran 1904 United Labourers' Union
20 E. J. Kavanagh 1910 Pressers Union of New South Wales
21 J. S. (Jock) Garden 1918 Operative Sailmakers' Society
22 J. Howie 1922 Federated Coopers of Australia
23 J. S. (Jock) Garden 1923 Operative Sailmakers' Society
24 Robert Arthur King 1934 Australian Saddlery Trades Employees' Federation
25 James Kenny 1958 Australian Glass Workers' Union
26 Ralph Marsh 1967 Boilermakers' Society of Australia
27 John Ducker 1975 Federated Ironworkers' Association
28 Barrie Unsworth 1979 Electrical Trades Union
29 John MacBean 1984 Electrical Trades Union
30 Michael Easson 1989
31 Peter Sams 1994 Australian Workers' Union
32 Michael Costa 1998 Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen
33 John Robertson 2001 Electrical Trades Union
34 Mark Lennon 2008
35 Mark Morey 2016 Rail, Tram & Bus Union

See also



  1. ^ a b c Cooper, Rae (November 2002). "'To organize wherever the necessity exists': the activities of the Organising Committee of the Labor Council of NSW, 1900-1910". Labour History (83). Australian Society for the Study of Labour History: 43–64. Retrieved 8 December 2013.