About Us


The SDA is a registered Industrial Union of employees that promotes the interests and defends the rights of members in the retail and fast food industries and other areas of coverage. Unions give an employee support and strength when negotiating with an employer whereas an individual has none.

The Union represents its members in negotiations for better wages and conditions. It protects members against unfair treatment and it gives support with a wide range of services that range from legal advice and worker's compensation support through to arranging discounts at a variety of establishments.

The Queensland Branch of the SDA had its origins in 1889 when a group of 16 draper’s assistants met in Brisbane to discuss the formation of an “Early Closing Association”. It was at this meeting that the present Shop Assistants’ Union was born. Since then it has grown to be the largest Union in Australia covering every aspect of the retail industry and with a name that now reflects the wide diversity of our membership - The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association.

The SDA is a strong, efficient and progressive Union, effectively representing the needs of its members. The Queensland Branch is staffed by dedicated officials, experienced in dealing with management at the highest level and most of its employees have had retail experience themselves.

The SDA represents members in negotiations with employers in order to improve wages and conditions. Improvements do not just happen; they occur only because the SDA presents well researched arguments and negotiates in good faith. Employers almost always oppose any application to improve wages and conditions.

The SDA protects its members against threats to their jobs such as unfair dismissal, victimisation and intimidation. The SDA ensures that unfair practices do not exist in the workplace by policing the Equal Opportunity Legislation and guarding against sexual harassment and discrimination.

The SDA makes sure its members are receiving the entitlements that the Union has fought hard to win for them. These benefits include the 38 hour week, award wages, RDO’s, payment of overtime, allowances, annual leave, annual leave loading, sick leave, long service leave, meal breaks, parental leave and superannuation.

The Union also provides a wide range of other benefits as well as a variety of discounts for members. Further information on these can be accessed from the link on our Home Page.

Income for the SDA comes from fees paid by members. As all retail workers benefit from improvements in wages and conditions obtained by the Union, it is only fair that all should contribute to the costs involved by being members of the Union.

In turn the Union provides staff to visit workplaces, and employs specialists in workers compensation, occupational health and safety and industrial relations in order to maintain services to members. Please remember that these services, as well as all other benefits of the Union, are for SDA members only.

Running cases before the Industrial Commission does not come cheaply. However, by joining the SDA, members have the strength and resources to be represented on an equal footing to their employers.

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