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Union Structure

FIRST Union came into being on 1 October 2011 when the National Distribution Union and Finsec amalgamated.

We are structured into the 5 sectors where members of our union work.

These are Retail, Transport & Logistics, Finance, Wood, and Textile/Clothing/Laundry.

In addition, members of our union are active in our Runanga, Fono and Women's Committee, and a Migrant Workers' Network is building up too.

FIRST Union actively participates in the five global union bodies that represent sections of our members on the international stage.

You can print off a copy of the FIRST Union rules - see PDF at the bottom of this page.

NDU historyNDU

The National Distribution Union was formed in 1986 with four unions amalgamating to become the Northern Distribution Union. 

These were the Northern Drivers Union, the Northern Stores and Warehouse Union, the Auckland and Gisborne Shop Employee Union and the Northern Butchers and Grocers Union.

Our logo was designed to depict the four unions joining together. 

At that time we were a northern union but with more amalgamations, some in the South Island, we changed the "Northern" to "National" to incorporate unions across the country. 

These further amalgamations were with the  South Island Clothing Workers Union, the Distribution & General Workers Union, the NZ Engine Drivers Union and the Northern Textile & Clothing Workers Union, the Performance & Entertainment Union, the Wood Industries Union of Aotearoa and the Southern Bakers Union. 

More recently, in 2007 the Clothing, Laundry & Allied Workers Union amalgamated with the NDU.NDU

The NDU and its amalgamated unions have a proud history of fighting for workers rights.  Workers organising together in the NDU:

  • were the first to win sick leave and tangihanga leave, paving the way for these benefits for all workers
  • helped lift the minimum wage
  • won a fourth week of annual leave and paid parental leave
  • ended legalised pay discrimination against women
  • played a role in making Waitangi day and Labour day public holidays

Finsec history 

Workers in finance were some of the first to unionise in New Zealand with the formation of the Bank Officer’s Guild in 1919 and soon thereafter, the Insurance Worker’s Guild.

These guilds became unions and had many proud decades of representing workers’ interests in the industry before merging together in 1990 to form Finsec - the Finance Sector Union.


During the 1990s Finsec extended its coverage to staff of the then Trust Banks with the demise of the Clerical Worker’s Union and later staff in Post Bank when their union ceased operation.

Along the way, members from the Stock and Station Union, Taranaki Legal Workers and various insurance Staff Associations also joined with Finsec creating a truly cross-industry union with a membership peak in 1990 of around 23,000 members.

Things have changed a lot since then with many of the companies in the industry in the late 1980s - early 1990s no longer in existence, massive downsizing of staff numbers across the industry and the huge increase in Australian ownership of the major New Zealand banks.

The majority of finance FIRST Union members today are employed by the large banks and larger insurance companies with a small number spread across various businesses such as Building Societies, Credit Unions, Finance Companies and the like.

Registered Union Rules2.17 MB

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