‘Super union’ merger sparks debate
THE amalgamation of three of Australia’s largest unions to form a new 144,000 member‘super union’ has received a strong response from industry.
In early March, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) approved the formation of the new union, CFMMEU, comprising the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA), and Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
Mr Crumlin said the approval of the merger was a “historic day” for Australian workers.
“Wherever there is a need to defend the interests of Australian workers, we will be there with them in their workplaces and communities,” Mr Crumlin said.
However the move was met with opposition from mining and construction employer groups the Australian Mines and Minerals Association ( AMMA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA).
AMMA and MBA lodged an appeal against the FWC decision, arguing the merger “will put the economy and jobs in jeopardy”.
“The MUA and CFMEU appear to share a common belief that they are above the law and are renowned for using tactics such as bullying, intimidation, and industrial thuggery on anyone who disagrees with them,” MBA chief executive Denita Wawn said.
“Merging these two unions into one new, militant ‘ Super-Union’ will see these illegal tactics become more prevalent, giving them even greater power to coerce business, put jobs at risk and bring the economy to a standstill.”
Federal Workplace and Deregulation minister Craig Laundy also criticized the decision, stating the union could have an impact on supply chains economy wide, far beyond their respective sectors.
“In particular if you look at the CFMEU side of this merger, we’ve currently got 77 individuals before the courts, and over the past two to three years around $13 million in fines issued,” Mr Laundy told ABC.
“The problem now is that this union would have yearly revenue of around $150 million and the risk is they’ll treat those fines as a cost of doing business without thinking more broadly the damage they could be doing.”
CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor said the group will “hit the ground running immediately”.
“Big Business has too much power, we have record levels of inequality in our community, and working families are finding it hard to make ends meet,” Mr O’Connor said.
“It’s time for big business to stop riding on the coattails of everyday working Australians, time the banks stopped ripping people off, and time for every business in this country to pay tax.
“Nearly 700 big corporations pay no tax, which is a national scandal.”
Union leaders celebrating the win.