‘Su­per union’ merger sparks de­bate

The Australian Mining Review - - NEWS - EL­IZ­A­BETH FABRI

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.”

Im­age: CFMEU.

Union lead­ers cel­e­brat­ing the win.

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