Participants who took time out of their Sunday to celebrate Labour Day at Cotton Tree Park.
Participants who took time out of their Sunday to celebrate Labour Day at Cotton Tree Park. Brett Wortman

Unions rejoice in solidarity

AN INCREASING number of unions are basing full-time officers on the Coast to keep up with people wanting to sign up as members.

Unions representing teachers, nurses and plumbers are just some to establish a presence on the Coast in the past year.

It was a welcome announcement to make to the 500 people who gathered at Cotton Tree park yesterday for a Labour Day family fun day.

Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams said more than 50,000 people Australia-wide had joined a union in the past year.

He said the spike in interest on the Coast had prompted many unions to establish in the region.

"It's because there are more and more members signing up... and the unions know to keep up they need to be local and part of the community," Mr Battams said.

"They used to be based in Brisbane and commute ... but they can see the need for that role full-time up here now."

He said yesterday's turnout on the Coast and at parades around Australia were also in recognition of the gains that unions have made for wider society.

"Paid maternity leave came in from 1 January this year," he said.

"Young families now have some financial breathing space in the important early months of their child's life.

"And at the other end of the scale, older workers will be retiring with superannuation that will ensure a better life for them instead of relying only on a government pension."

QCU Sunshine Coast branch president Robyn Sugden said Labour Day gave an opportunity for ordinary working people to support fairness and equity at work.

"The Labour Day rally and activities just let people know that unions are working hard to protect and advance the interests of Queensland workers," she said.

"And unions will continue to work hard to ensure that the priorities and concerns of working people are at the forefront of government considerations."