Merger one step closer

The creation of one of Australia’s most progressive unions is one step closer with the formal lodging of merger documents with the Fair Work Commission.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Textile, Clothing, and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) commenced merger talks last year.

The amalgamation proposal has passed through most internal processes of the three unions with only a ballot of members from the MUA and TCFUA remaining.

The ballot will be conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Under the proposed structure, the MUA would become the fourth division of the CFMEU while the TCFUA would become part of the Manufacturing Division.

CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said strength in numbers was important, while respecting the cultures and histories of the unions involved.

"Now more than ever our members are suffering from years of corporate greed. Inequality in Australia has become entrenched. The rich and big business avoid tax and working people are forced to increasingly carry the burden, “O’Connor said.

“We need a new progressive union that will be fearless in fighting for the interests of working people.

"Our job is to build a more equitable Australia. We want to work together to ensure we best represent our members to look after our industries, our families and our communities.”

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said all three unions would be on a permanent campaign footing.

“The struggle isn’t just about better job security, wages, conditions and safety but also about better schools, universities and TAFE for our kids, better health care for
our families and better aged care for our community.

“Our communities have had enough of the constant attacks on jobs, on our public services and on health and education.

“This merger would put all three unions in the best position to fight our opponents who want to flatten or reduce wages and allow exploited foreign labour to operate in Australia to undermine our job security and conditions.

“No-one knows that better than Australian seafarers and maritime workers.”

TCFUA National Secretary Michele O’Neil said it was an important step in the evolution of the TCFUA to become part of a larger union.

“Strength doesn’t just come through numbers but also diversity,” O’Neil said.

“The new union will be strengthened by the increased contribution of women and workers from non-English speaking background. Together we will make sure everyone gets a fair go and no-one is left behind.”

“We will fight against wage theft and exploitation and fight for secure jobs with fair wages, conditions and dignity for workers.”