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International Women's Day Centenary Celebration
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The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) represents Australian workers and their families.

Since its creation in 1927, the ACTU has spearheaded some of the most fundamental workplace struggles in Australia’s history.

The industrial gains are many: decades of wage increases through the award system and campaigns in the field, safer workplaces, greater equality for women, improvements in working hours, entitlements to paid holidays and better employment conditions, and the establishment of a universal superannuation system.

The ACTU has played a role in all of these achievements.  It has contributed to fairness and justice in the community as well – contributing to Australia’s post-war development and immigration program, the social security system, Medicare and education - to name just a few.

In recent years, the ACTU led a broad coalition of unions, churches and community groups to oppose the Howard Government’s unfair and radical industrial relations changes.

The ultimate goal of the Rights at Work campaign was to see the Howard Government's so-called "WorkChoices" legislation torn up and fairer laws put in their place.

This objective was achieved with the election of the Rudd-Labor Government in November 2007 - with a mandate to restore fair IR laws. The new Fair Work Act came into operation on 1st July 2009.

The Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) was established in 1856 after the successful Eight Hour Day campaign of that year. The major role of VTHC continues to be the co-ordination of union activities and campaigns. When a union requires assistance and support for an issue which has broad consequences for more than one union, the VTHC may become involved in a co-ordinating role. It also provides assistance to its affiliated unions with research, negotiations and advocacy.

The VTHC is also the central State organisation for communicating with the public about trade union issues. It is responsible for implementing ACTU policy within Victoria and represents unionists in lobbying State Parliament for social and industrial reforms. It is the body which most people contact if they have any query about trade unions.

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