Labor Council of New South Wales

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Unions NSW
Labor Council of New South Wales
Founded1871;151 years ago (1871)
Headquarters Sydney, New South Wales
  • Australia
Key people
Mark Morey, Secretary
Thomas John Costa, Assistant Secretary
Emma Maiden, Assistant Secretary
Affiliations ACTU

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:

Labor Council Secretaries

1W. M. Ford1871
2Thomas White1872 Seamen's Union of Australia
3Angus Cameron1873 Progressive Society of Carpenters and Joiners
4Thomas White1873 Seamen's Union of Australia
5Frank B. Dixon1873 Operative Stonemasons' Society
6Angus Cameron1874 Progressive Society of Carpenters and Joiners
7Edward I. Aiken1874
8T. H. Hall1876
9W. Helstey1880
10William R. Roylance1880 Operative Stonemasons' Society
11J. E. West1883 Operative Plumbers' Society
12Frank B. Dixon1883 Operative Stonemasons' Society
13Thomas Symons1884
14James J. Cronin1887 New South Wales Saddle, Harness and Collar Makers' Protective Society
15Thomas J. Houghton1888 New South Wales Typographical Association
16John Riddell1894 Operative Stonemasons' Society
17J. P. Cochran1894 United Labourers Union
18T. H. Thrower1903 United Furniture Trade Society
19J. P. Cochran1904 United Labourers' Union
20E. J. Kavanagh1910 Pressers Union of New South Wales
21 J. S. (Jock) Garden 1918 Operative Sailmakers' Society
22J. Howie1922 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
35Mark Morey2016 Rail, Tram & Bus Union

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  1. 1 2 3 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. Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (83): 43–64. Retrieved 8 December 2013.