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The Union was first federally registered in 1915 as the Australasian Coal & Shale Employees Federation (ACSEF). Amalgamations in the 1990s, including with the Federated Mine Mechanics Association (FMMA), expanded industry coverage, creating the United Mineworkers Federation of Australia (UMFA). After a further series of amalgamations with construction and forestry industry unions, we became the Mining & Energy Division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).
The CFMEU, a trade union registered under federal industrial law with over 120,000 members is one of the largest in Australia. The CFMEU came into existence in 1992 as an amalgamation of the United Mineworkers' Federation of Australia, the Building Workers Industrial Union, the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemens' Association, the Australian Timber and Allied Industries Union and other smaller unions. The Districts of the Mining & Energy Division also have state registration.
The Union has a District Structure which covers most of Australia. Districts directly provide services to members. Read more about Districts and Find Your District.
The Division covers several industries - the coal industry, coal ports, the metalliferous mining industry, electric power generation, oil and gas and the small coke industry.
In the coal mining industry the Mining & Energy Division is constitutionally able to cover/represent any worker in that industry. In terms of award coverage (ie via the decisions of the government appointed industrial relations authority, Fair Work Australia) it is able to cover any production or engineering worker.
In practice the division covers a wide range of work in the coal mining industry including production, surface labourers and maintenance/trades employees in underground mines, washery operators, truck drivers, tradespeople and labourers in open cut mines and labourers at coal loaders.
There are however other unions in the coal mining industry who may cover some of this work including, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), and the NSW Colliery Officials Association (Deputies). The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA) is able to represent administrative and professional workers.
Nevertheless the CFMEU is the only union that can cover all employees in the industry and it has been nominated as the "principal union" in the industry by the ACTU. This gives it the sanction of the trade union movement to recruit any employee in the industry.