Australian super-union formed

On 6 March, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Australia, the federal industrial tribunal, allowed three prominent trade unions to form a supposed “super-union.” Despite demands by major employers to block the merger, FWC deputy president Val Gostencnik said no provision in the Registered Organisations Act prevented it from going ahead.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) will form the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU).

The amalgamated entity, to be officially launched on 27 March, will claim to have 144,000 members, estimated assets of AU$310 million and annual revenue of AU$146 million. Officials from the three unions issued statements to the media proclaiming that the new formation will be a massive boon for workers.

TCFUA secretary Michele O’Neil declared that “big businesses and governments should start preparing to pay better wages and increase job security,” because “ordinary workers now have a powerful new force for change on their side.”

However, the unions are attempting to counter dropping membership levels resulting from an exodus of disgusted workers. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, just 10 percent of private sector workers are union members and 38 percent in the public sector, both record lows. According to Roy Morgan surveys, just 6.9 percent of workers under the age of 25 belong to a union. More >>.

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