The SDA works to protect and to advance the wages and working conditions of our members in retail, fast food, warehousing, modelling and hair and beauty.

Unions are responsible for the wages and working conditions of most Australian workers.

Unions negotiate for improvements to members working conditions through the award system and through enterprise bargaining to create enterprise agreements (sometimes known as EBAs), Unions help to ensure that employers comply with these agreements and awards.

Unions are responsible for defending the jobs of workers against redundancy and retrenchment threats. They are responsible for providing social justice through improved wages and conditions for workers and their families.

The SDA also assists its members by providing advice on a number of workplace issues including unfair dismissal, sexual harassment, Work Cover claims and changes in the workplace.  The SDA provides advice to its members free of charge.  The only cost to members is the weekly cost of membership, which is tax deductible.  This fee is based on a sliding scale to ensure workers who work fewer hours and earn lower wages pay less for their membership.

Membership includes access to union organisers who visit workplaces and provide general advice to members on a range of issues.  Being a member of the union gives members access to wide-ranging advice from a number of specialists qualified in areas such as worker’s compensation, occupational health and safety, women’s issues and industrial relations.

They are responsible for helping women achieve equality of opportunity.

Unions also lobby the government to create changes to legislation (laws).  Examples of this are Occupational Health and Safety legislation and WorkCover legislation.  Therefore, unions are able to make major improvements for many workers by promoting the interests of all workers to state and federal governments.

As well as assisting members with workplace issues, the SDA also provides a wide range of benefits and discount services.  The SDA membership card offers members a selection of discount entertainment, accommodation, discount entry to theme parks and discount dining around Australia.  As a member you can also take advantage of other discount services such as discount dental, optical and health care.

Some people argue that unions used to be important, but that now all workers have decent wages and conditions, that union demands only disrupt the economy. They say unions have outlived their usefulness. But good wages and conditions do not just happen. They come about only because unions work for them. If unions went out of existence, workers would be unlikely to be able to defend themselves and very quickly their wages and conditions would deteriorate.

Unions are vital in preserving and enhancing the wages and working conditions of workers.


Apart from the many services and benefits provided to members by the SDA, there are a number of other reasons why workers choose to join the SDA.  As well as negotiating for better conditions and ensuring members receive their entitlements, the SDA also acts as a member’s representative in the workplace.  Dealing with workplace issues alone can be frightening. By joining the SDA members are represented by experts who are experienced in dealing with workplace issues.

Another important reason why many people choose to join the SDA is the protection provided in the workplace with respect to changes and disputes.  However, most importantly by becoming a member, you become part of a group of people just like you, who share similar interests and problems and who are prepared to work for just outcomes in the workplace and society.  Members of the SDA are encouraged to seek assistance for any workplace problems or issues that may occur and as a member you never have to deal with these issues alone.

The SDA is a friend at work you can’t afford to be without. We offer industrial advice and protection and a great range of discounts. Not all bosses and managers give workers what they are entitled to. Because the world is not perfect, retail, fast food and warehouse workers should join the SDA for the help and guidance that the Association provides. The SDA gives the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that there is always someone there for you. It’s like insurance for your job.

Joining the SDA is simple. To request an application form or to find out more about membership contact our friendly staff by phone, fax, post or email the Branch in your state.

In many workplaces you can have your union fees deducted straight from your pay. If this is not possible, or you would prefer to keep your membership confidential, you can pay by quarterly account, direct debit or credit card. Union fees are modest and fully tax deductible. Contact us to find out more.

To contact the SDA click on “Find Your Branch” and select the “Branch” relevant to you.

Every worker has the right to join a union.  Union membership is important for all workers, especially young workers.

It is against the law for an employer to stop you from joining a union.