Edited by Marc Eastmure
A union is a body that represents the interests of workers in a particular industry or occupation. All employees and independent contractors are free to choose whether to join a union. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is the peak body for Australian unions, made up of 38 affiliated unions who together represent about 1.8 million workers and their families.
In March, Fair Work Australia and the Courts approved a mega-merger between the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Maritime Union of Australia, and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia into a unified entity known as the CFMMEU. During the lead up to this controversial merger, the Coalition and employer groups lobbied against this case. Furthermore, the Turnbull Government sought to pass legislation that would subject the merger to a 'public interest test' that is thought to have limited the merger's chance of success.
Fair Work Commission Deputy President Val Gostencnik rejected employer arguments that legal proceedings in relation to alleged workplace and contempt of court breaches by the unions prevented the merger. He was satisfied the unions had fulfilled all other requirements for the merger under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth).
The CFMMEU merger will be appealed April 9th before a Fair Work Commission full bench.
In Australia, a union security agreement can be made between the company and the union, whereby the employer automatically collects union fees from their workers salaries.
Does the union merger concentrated power as to be unfairly balanced towards employees?
Australian Council of Trade Unions, 'Sally McManus - Press Club Speech: Change the Rules; For more secure jobs and fair pay' | Sydney Morning Herald, Unions attack work laws with biggest ad campaign in decade
The Australian, 'How unions use social media to pressure companies'
Australian Council of Trade Unions, 'Sally McManus - Press Club Speech: Change the Rules; For more secure jobs and fair pay'
The Australian Financial Review, 'Sally McManus speech a throwback to the unions’ racist, protectionist past'
The Canberra Times, 'John Lloyd: more contractors, smaller role for unions in the future of work'
The Australian, 'Employers fear ACTU living-wage push ‘could be death of business’ | Reserve Bank of Australia, 'Small Business: An Economic Overview'