Real unions versus fake unions: What you must know

September 16, 2022

It is incredibly important to recognise and understand the other imposters for working people – fake unions. While fake unions have attempted to exist for some time, the pandemic was the catalyst for opportunistic fake unions to push their callous, political, and self-interested agendas to take advantage of working people seeking genuine representation and support. 

Fake unions latch on to topical social conversations to lure in unsuspecting workers under the guise of genuine support, representation, and assistance. Their existence is intentional and politically motivated – if you dig deep enough into the faceless heads of these fake unions, you will often find Liberal National Party cowboys and others with interests that undermine true unionism and working people. 

Worst of all, these fake unions could not and cannot deliver what they promise to the unsuspecting members who pay them hard-earned money. Fake unions undermine the integrity and purposes of a genuine trade union – collective strength and members’ best interests. 

Let us look at the difference between a fake union and a legitimate union: Fake unions operate as a business and therefore do not have to meet the same governance requirements as real and registered unions. 
• Fake unions do not qualify for right of entry to worksites. Only real unions can apply for and be granted right of entry to worksites under the law. 
• Fake unions cannot be covered by Enterprise Agreements, and this means that fake unions have no legal right to enforce any of the conditions, including disputes, contained in a collective, trade union-negotiated Enterprise Agreement.
• Fake unions’ financial statements are not subjected to the same governance or reporting requirements as a real union which means that members of a fake union have no transparency around how their member fees are spent.
• Fake unions often do not have the infrastructure or personnel that real unions do meaning that as a member of a fake union, you could quite literally be talking to someone posing as an experienced union official from their backyard – or a call centre located somewhere unknown. Real unions have experienced officials on the ground and in professional branch offices. 

The key takeaway – a fake union is about as useful to its members as a truck driver is without a licence. By sticking together and calling out these shams, we protect the integrity of what a union really is. It is this genuine unity and experience that has delivered for tens of thousands of transport workers across the diverse transport industry both in Victoria and Tasmania, and across the nation.