Search results for "unions"
Jun 16, 2020
Essential Research

Importance of unions

Q. How important are unions for Australian working people today?

  June

2020

October

2015

February

2014

December

2013

May

2013

September

2012

March

2012

Very important 24% 26% 27% 22% 21% 16% 19%
Quite important 37% 36% 34% 35% 35% 36% 37%
Not very important 17% 21% 21% 22% 24% 28% 27%
Not at all important 7% 7% 9% 12% 12% 10% 8%
Don’t know 16% 11% 8% 9% 8% 10% 9%
TOTAL: Important 60% 62% 61% 57% 56% 52% 56%
TOTAL: Not important 24% 28% 30% 34% 36% 38% 35%
Base (n) 1,087 1,012 1,051 1,063 1,050 1,035 1,043

 

    Federal Voting intention
  Total Labor Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other  
Very important 24% 33% 15% 29% 26%  
Quite important 37% 40% 35% 41% 35%  
Not very important 17% 11% 26% 13% 16%  
Not at all important 7% 3% 12% 4% 6%  
Don’t know 16% 13% 13% 13% 17%  
TOTAL: Important 60% 73% 50% 70% 61%  
TOTAL: Not important 24% 15% 37% 17% 22%  
Base (n) 1,087 334 412 96 140  
  • 60% of respondents think that unions are very, or quite important for working people. Importance of unions is consistent with 2015 when this measure was last recorded (62% in October 2015). However, there has been an increase since 2012 in the proportion of people saying unions are important, increasing from 52% in September 2012.
  • Unions are considered more important by those intending to vote Labor (73%) or Greens (70%) at the next Federal election than those intending to vote for the Coalition (50%).
Jun 16, 2020
Essential Research

Perceptions of trade unions

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about the role of unions in the workplace?

  TOTAL: Agree TOTAL: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Unsure
Unions provide essential services to their members to ensure they are paid appropriately and have safe working environments 74% 11% 34% 40% 8% 3% 15%
A union gives workers more power with employers through a collective voice 74% 12% 34% 40% 9% 3% 15%
Unions provide advice and services to which members would otherwise not have access 70% 13% 30% 40% 10% 3% 17%
Unions are vital to stop businesses taking advantage of their employees 67% 16% 34% 33% 12% 5% 16%
Unions that insist on minimum qualifications and training create a highly-skilled workforce 64% 15% 27% 38% 11% 4% 20%
               
Unions are too politically biased 62% 19% 30% 31% 12% 7% 19%
Union protection makes it difficult for employers to discipline, terminate or even promote employees 58% 24% 25% 33% 18% 6% 18%
Unions add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy for businesses 49% 33% 21% 28% 22% 11% 18%
Unions are corrupt 47% 30% 19% 28% 18% 12% 23%
Employment law and regulations mean unions are no longer needed 41% 40% 16% 26% 25% 15% 19%
  • There was higher agreement with statements pertaining to positive perceptions of unions than negative. 74% agreed that ‘Unions provide essential services to their members to ensure they are paid appropriately and have safe working environments’ and ‘A union gives workers more power with employers through a collective voice’.
  • 62% agreed that ‘Unions are too politically biased’ and over half (58%) agreed that ‘Union protection makes it difficult for employers to discipline, terminate or even promote employees’.
Jun 16, 2020
Essential Research

Better or worse off with stronger unions

Q. Overall, would workers be better off or worse off if unions in Australia were stronger?

  June

2020

October

2015

February

2014

May

2013

September

2012

A lot better off 18% 17% 21% 14% 13%
A little better off 31% 28% 24% 29% 26%
A little worse off 14% 12% 11% 14% 15%
A lot worse off 10% 14% 16% 15% 15%
Unsure / Makes no difference 27% 30% 28% 26% 30%
TOTAL: Better off 50% 45% 45% 43% 39%
TOTAL: Worse off 24% 26% 27% 29% 30%
Base (n) 1,087 1,012 1,051 1,050 1,035

 

    Federal Voting intention
  Total Labor Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other  
A lot better off 18% 24% 12% 20% 22%  
A little better off 31% 40% 28% 29% 25%  
A little worse off 14% 9% 19% 16% 13%  
A lot worse off 10% 7% 15% 8% 10%  
Unsure 27% 19% 25% 27% 30%  
TOTAL: Important 50% 65% 40% 50% 47%  
TOTAL: Not important 24% 16% 34% 24% 23%  
Base (n) 1,087 334 412 96 140  

 

Dec 10, 2019
Essential Research

Attitudes towards unions

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about unions?

  NET: Agree NET: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Unsure
Union officials should be disqualified for breaching administrative laws such as failing to file annual financial reports 68% 18% 30% 38% 13% 5% 14%
The government seems to be more concerned about the actions of union officials than the CEO’s of banks and other corporations 62% 24% 29% 34% 18% 6% 14%
Union officials should be disqualified for taking unprotected industrial action, such as snap strikes 51% 32% 20% 31% 22% 10% 17%
Overall unions have too much power in Australia today 49% 37% 18% 31% 24% 13% 14%
  • Two-thirds of participants agree that ‘union officials should be disqualified for breaching administrative laws such as failing to file annual financial reports’ (68%) and 62% agree that the government seems to be more concerned about the actions of union officials than the CEO’s of banks and other corporations.
  • Half of participants agree that union officials should be disqualified for taking unprotected industrial action, such as snap strikes (51%) and 49% agree that overall unions have too much power in Australia today.
  • Capital city residents are more likely than non-capital city residents to agree that overall unions have too much power in Australia today, with 53% of capital city and 41% of non-capital city residents agreeing with the statement.
  • Broadly, Coalition voters and those over 55 years old were most likely to agree with statements that are more negative towards unions.
Oct 27, 2015
Essential Research

Importance of unions

Q. How important are unions for Australian working people today?

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Vote other

Work full time

Work part time

Mar 2012

Sep 2012

May 2013

Dec 2013

Feb 2014

Total important

62%

83%

47%

74%

60%

59%

71%

56%

52%

56%

57%

61%

Total not Important

28%

10%

49%

16%

25%

32%

17%

35%

38%

36%

34%

30%

Very important

26%

46%

11%

41%

19%

26%

26%

19%

16%

21%

22%

27%

Quite important

36%

37%

36%

33%

41%

33%

45%

37%

36%

35%

35%

34%

Not very important

21%

8%

37%

14%

14%

22%

14%

27%

28%

24%

22%

21%

Not at all important

7%

2%

12%

2%

11%

10%

3%

8%

10%

12%

12%

9%

Don’t know

11%

7%

5%

10%

16%

8%

12%

9%

10%

8%

9%

8%

The majority of respondents regarded unions to be important for Australian working people today (62%), whilst 28% believe that they were not important. These results represent an increase in importance of unions since this question was asked in February last year – from net +31 to +34, the most positive result for unions over the past 4 years.

83% of Labor voters and 74% of Greens voters believed that unions were important for Australian working people today, while Coalition voters were the most likely to regard unions as not important (49%).

The majority of full time workers (59%) and part time workers (71%) regarded unions as important for Australian working people today.

Oct 27, 2015
Essential Research

Better or worse off with stronger unions

Q. Overall, would workers be better off or worse off if unions in Australia were stronger?

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Vote other

Work full time

Work part time

Sep 2012

May 2013

Feb 2014

Total better off

45%

68%

28%

58%

36%

45%

51%

39%

43%

45%

Total worse off

26%

13%

41%

12%

28%

31%

16%

30%

29%

27%

A lot better off

17%

30%

6%

31%

9%

16%

18%

13%

14%

21%

A little better off

28%

38%

22%

27%

27%

29%

33%

26%

29%

24%

A little worse off

12%

8%

18%

5%

12%

14%

10%

15%

14%

11%

A lot worse off

14%

5%

23%

7%

16%

17%

6%

15%

15%

16%

Make no difference

15%

8%

19%

13%

19%

12%

15%

15%

12%

13%

Don’t know

15%

11%

11%

17%

18%

11%

17%

15%

14%

15%

The perception that workers would be better off with stronger unions has changed very little since this question was asked in February last year. 45% (no change) felt that workers would be better off if unions in Australia were stronger and 26% (down 1%) that believed workers would be worse off.

By voting intention, 68% of Labor voters and 58% of Greens voters believed that workers would be better off while Coalition voters were by far the most likely to believe that workers would be worse off (41%).

Oct 27, 2015
Essential Research

Royal Commission into trade unions

Q. Do you think the Royal Commission into Trade Unions is a legitimate investigation into union practices or is it a political attack on unions and the Labor Party?

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Vote other

Aug 2015

A political attack on Labor and the unions

27%

48%

12%

41%

29%

27%

A legitimate investigation of union practices

42%

22%

69%

27%

41%

39%

Don’t know

31%

31%

19%

31%

30%

34%

42% think the that the Trade Union Royal Commission is a legitimate investigation of union practices and 27% think that it is a political attack on Labor and the unions. 31% did not know. These results are similar to those from August.

Views were related to voting intention – 69% of Liberal/National voters think it is a legitimate investigation of union practices while 48 % of Labor voters think it is a political attack on Labor and the unions.

45% of full-time workers and 37% of part-time workers think it is a legitimate investigation of union practices.

Aug 25, 2015
Essential Research

Royal Commission into trade unions

Q. Do you think the Royal Commission into Trade Unions is a legitimate investigation into union practices or is it a political attack on unions and the Labor Party?

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Vote other

A political attack on Labor and the unions

27%

52%

6%

42%

25%

A legitimate investigation of union practices

39%

17%

70%

14%

41%

Don’t know

34%

31%

24%

44%

34%

39% think the that the Trade Union Royal Commission is a legitimate investigation of union practices and 27% think that it is a political attack on Labor and the unions. 34% did not know.

Views were related to voting intention – 70% of Liberal/National voters think it is a legitimate investigation of union practices while 52% of Labor voters think it is a political attack on Labor and the unions.

40% of full-time workers and 35% of part-time workers think it is a legitimate investigation of union practices.

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