The National Union of Workers is a collective of tens of thousands of members across Australia who are unified to fight for decent working conditions, living wages, and a fair go for Australian workers. The NUW represents workers in sales and marketing. The NUW is proud to partner with Chamberlains Law Firm in bringing a group claim against PCA Group, acting as the named applicant to ensure that a fair and equitable outcome can be reached on behalf of workers.

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Class actions are claims brought on behalf of potentially large numbers of people to resolve a single dispute. Sometimes it is too difficult or too expensive to sue a company, because that company is very big and powerful, or you may have a lot to lose. A class action enables a group of people with similar circumstances and claims to stand together to demand justice in a situation where one person alone may not be heard.

Class actions are brought to court by a single representative on behalf of a much larger group. This representative is referred to as the “lead applicant” and acts on behalf of the larger group, or class, of individuals. As a class representative, the lead claimant is named and appears in court on behalf of the group, has the responsibility for giving legal instructions that determine the course of the case, and acts in the interest of the group.

Other claimants involved in a class action may choose to have a passive role in the process, and are not required to provide evidence, attend court or otherwise participate in proceedings. However, they are still entitled to the benefits of the class action in the event of a settlement or win.

Section 539 of the Fair Work Act (2009) (Cth) gives standing to a union such as the NUW to bring a claim on behalf of a group of workers. It is similar to a class action in that it involves a group of individuals with similar claims. However, a claim brought under section 539 does not need to satisfy procedural legal aspects of a class action. For example, in typical class actions, the Court must decide if the group of people seeking representation are able to form a class. In doing so, the Court considers whether the lead claimant’s claim is typical to each individual within the class, and whether any individual’s claim has particular features that must be considered separately. This process can be time consuming and expensive, and may lead to uncertainty in the initial stages of proceedings.

As a union, the NUW is a powerful claimant against PCA Group. Like all Unions, the NUW has a statutory power to represent individual workers, and can bring a claim on behalf of its members without having to satisfy legal requirements to form a “class” for the purposes of a class action. In short, having the NUW as the lead claimant in our fight against PCA Group brings strength, efficiency and predictability to proceedings.

Yes. For the NUW to represent you in the class action against PCA Group, you are required to sign up as a member. Membership has particular benefits, and Chamberlains encourages you to consider ongoing membership if you are in an industry represented by the National Union of Workers. To be a member of this class action, there are several levels of membership and options available to you; you are not required to be an ongoing member.

If you are currently working in an industry that the NUW represents, you may wish to join as an active, ongoing member of the NUW and receive benefits associated with membership. These include Union support if you require representation at work and assistance in bargaining for improved wages and conditions. There are also a number of services and discounts members can take advantage of from companies and service providers across Australia. Membership is $12/week for individuals in full-time employment, and $6.90 if you are employed part time or casually in sales and marketing.

If you are currently working but do not wish to be an active member of the NUW, or are not working in an industry represented by the NUW you may join as a FairGo member. As a FairGo member, you are able to be represented by NUW in the claim against PCA Group, but are not eligible for membership benefits provided to active members such as representation at work and assistance in collective bargaining for secure jobs and fair pay. FairGo membership requires a once-off payment of $12 (equivalent to one week’s ongoing NUW membership). In addition, in the event of a settlement or outcome in your favour, you will be required to pay an additional fee of $612 (equivalent to 51 weeks’ ongoing membership) to the NUW, which will be deducted from your settlement or winnings. Your total payment to the NUW will be $624, equivalent to one year’s ongoing membership.

At Chamberlains, we feel that these fees are a very reasonable in consideration of the support you will receive from the NUW during the course of this class action and represent excellent value for money.