Director of Industrial Relations, Red Union Support Hub
Chris Dekker is Director of Industrial Relations at Red Union Support Hub, a body that services more than 18,000 members of industrial associations including the Nurses Professional Association of Australia (NPAA), Teachers Professional Association of Australia (TPAA) and others across Australia and now New Zealand. Red Union Support Hub was formed in 2013, initially to service the then-new industrial association, the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland (NPAQ). Since that time, Red Union has grown to service 7 different industries in all states and territories of Australia, regularly appearing in enterprise bargaining, discrimination matters, and federal and state industrial relations tribunals. Since June 2023, Red Union now services New Zealand employees; their first serviced industrial association, NPANZ, recently became a registered union.
The industrial associations serviced by Red Union differ from registered unions in that their constitutions prevent them from any support to political parties. By reducing the amount of time spent on political campaigns that some members will disagree with, Red Union is able to charge roughly half the rate of other unions. Members of industrial associations serviced by Red Union also enjoy lower fees as the result of a unique operational model, wherein Red Union provides all the start-up capital, governance framework, marketing, member support and access to legal advice centrally. This creates economies of scale and allows breakaway unions to form effectively and quickly, without the growing pains that grassroots organisations often face on start-up.Red Union aims to harmonise the employee-employer relationship, simplify the industrial relations processes that employees feel threatened by, and improve the service all unions provide by giving them some competition.