Keep Australia Afloat

The Amalgamation Vote

The MUA is promoting a YES vote in the amalgamation between the MUA the CFMEU and the TCFUA. Ballots will be posted to members by the AEC on Thursday September 28th and the ballot closes on Thursday November 23rd. We are putting the following reasons forward in support for our case for a YES vote:

  • This amalgamation is about making three strong unions even stronger – as every amalgamation in our Union’s history has done. We are a history of amalgamations that has made the new union stronger at every stage
  • We will be uniting our shared traditions and cultures into a powerhouse union, making us capable of protecting and advancing our industrial, social and political rights and interests into the future
  • Increasingly the union is negotiating with big multinational corporations and/or campaigning against a Conservative government’s anti-union laws and to take them on we need to become stronger, get more powerful and become even better and more effective at what we do.
  • We will be bringing together significant combined resources (campaigning, financial, legal, political, membership etc) to continue providing members with the best Union representation in this country
  • The MUA will retain our autonomy but be strengthened by the industrial and financial resources of the combined MUA/CFMEU/TCFUA.
  • Through amalgamation we build greater capacity in new ways to fight against Government initiated legislative attacks as well as corporate assaults on our job security, conditions of employment and quality of life
  • This amalgamation is about redefining the nature of trade unionism to take on the new challenges that the new economy is presenting
  • Employers are opposing it because they know it will mean better job security and improved pay and conditions for members.

 

Key Facts on the Amalgamation:

  • The MUA will become a new division of the amalgamated union – The MUA Division
  • The MUA will retain our autonomy of our affairs and decision making but have increased resources, ensuring we can continue to provide our members with the representation they deserve
  • The MUA will retain it current assets and finances and retain responsibility for the financial affairs of the MUA division
  • The current MUA rules and election processes of the MUA will remain the same in the new Union - as they currently  do with the Construction, Mining and Forestry divisions now
  • This is not about losing the MUAs identity, but about preserving and advancing it through a better resourced, more influential and organised Union.
  • Union dues remain the same for our members and all Branches will continue to exist and operate as they are.
  • As a Union grows, in this case through amalgamation, it has access to greater resources. This does not just refer to money but to staff, knowledge, and most critically - an active and larger membership.
  • Government and Big Business are opposing the merger because we will be more powerful and effective at what we do.
  • Critics and vested interests want our members to vote no. We say VOTE YES for a stronger and more powerful union for workers.
  • A YES vote is the right thing to support given that the Government and Employers have come together so aggressively to try and stop it. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions that have come from members, more will be added as questions come in

Question: Will MUA members be entitled to other benefits CFMEU members get like funeral benefits and travel insurance just to name a couple? 

Answer: The benefits that CFMEU members get are determined by what Division and Branch they are in and in part determined by what EBA’s they work under and the industry that the EBA is in – so for instance the benefits that Construction Division members get are different to those that Mining and Energy Division and separately Forestry Division members get with such benefits being determined by the elected Division leadership. This is as it should be and the same will occur for the MUA Division membership, as it does now and as it will after amalgamation if the vote is successful. We can indicate that the MUA Division has been looking at benefits such as Ambulance Cover and Funeral Benefits for all members as a result of the widespread take up of Protect across a number of our industries. Even this discussion has been varied in response because in Queensland  cover such as Ambulance Cover is paid for every Queensland resident through the driver’s license fees. The Funeral Benefits in the construction industry in many Branches come as a result of the Branch leadership decision to have membership of a particular Portable Industry Redundancy Fund. The amalgamation won't change any of our existing policies in the MUA as we are a separate division, the MUA division that retains all our existing structures rules and policies as determined by the Quadrennial Conference of members in 2015

Question: How much will it cost us yearly to be a division of the CFMEU? 

Answer: it depends on what we want the combined National office of all the divisions to do for us. The MUA division retains our existing National and Branch rules and structures which is funded out of our current union dues by MUA members. That won't change and our existing activities policies number of officials and other operations remain as they exist in the MUA. We may combine some support services and resources to all divisions such as legal, communication , research but that will be done through a decision of our MUA division national council in consultation with our MUA division membership. There may be cost savings in these areas through combining those areas, but that will be determined by our MUA division after the merger. This merger is about more effectively combining our union resources in agreed areas across all divisions, but our MUA division will make those decisions in the same way our union does now

Question:  How will our division be represented on the CFMEU national conference floor? 

Answer: The CFMEU National Conference works differently to the MUA Quadrennial Conference in that it is made up of the elected officials of the various CFMEU Divisions. It also works differently for instance to the Mining and Energy National Conference which works very similarly to the MUA Quadrennial Conference in that it is this body in respect of the MUA and Mining and Energy Division that determines the Policy Platform for the next 4 years. The MUA Quadrennial Conference will continue to determine MUA Divisional policy if the amalgamation ballot is successful. Having said that representation on CFMEU National Conference will be made up of elected National Council members from the MUA Division just as it currently consists of the elected Branch and District Officials of the various divisions of the CFMEU. This is the difference with a Divisional structure.

Question: Why is it so hard to get information on the merger when high level talks have already been had, the deal has already been done information needs to be made more available on the good and bad? 

Answer: Information has been available and debated since the Quadrennial Conference of members and through the AGM’s attended by officials, stopwork meetings and many, many job site meetings over the last 18 months. It was determined that our current rules and structures in the MUA would remain the same in the MUA division unless our MUA division membership determine otherwise. This has been clearly reported since the Quadrennial Conference of members determined that and forms the basis of our MUA division rules

Question: If this amalgamation/merger is passed how do we get to elect a National President/secretary of the union,(not division).

Answer: The National Presidents and Secretaries including the International President and Assistant Secretary (there will be four positions on the CFMEU National Executive – National Secretary/National President/International President/National Assistant Secretary) are determined by consensus amongst the four elected National Secretaries who form the National Executive. At the current time Michael O’Connor, National Secretary of the Forestry Division, is the National Secretary. The rules and national structure ensures that each of the four Divisions has a position on the National Executive reserved for that Division’s National Secretary and will hold one of the four National positions. We will elect our National secretary and all National and branch officials in the MUA division in exactly the same way the MUA does now. Once elected that way the MUA division national secretary will then also hold one of those for positions in the merged union as well. If the merger is agreed our current National Secretary Paddy Crumlin will also then hold the position of International President

Question: I also find it strange that all union members of the other divisions don't get to vote the merger/amalgamation, after all, the rank and file are the union.

Answer: The Fair Work Act determines that where amalgamations occur if the total number of new members to come into another Union is less than 25% of that Union then those members are not required to vote. The CFMEU, through it’s Branch and District decision making processes of each Division, determined that they would not go to a vote and decided that an amalgamation of this type was in their best interests. The membership of the TCFUA and MUA vote. The CFMEU membership, branch and National Executives have all endorsed the merger and this has in turn been reported to their membership who have overwhelmingly endorsed the amalgamation as well in workplace and other union meetings including joint branch meetings and conferences of the MUA CFMEU and TCFUA in places like WA 

Question: What concerns me is in 5 to10 years time do we get a say in what happens? Here’s one - the union is losing money we need to rationalise branches - close /amalgamate - do we need 6 different officials cmfeu/mua we need only need one to cover all unions we need to change the official to member ratio ,now while these items are not on the agenda now ,we cannot be guaranteed that this won’t happen.

Answer: The decision making process on rationalising Branches within the MUA Division (closure or merging) are made within the rules and decision making processes of the MUA Division, just as it is now. This is the advantage of the Divisional structure of the CFMEU – each Division has it’s own rules, assets, finances, structures, elections etc – and as a result also has control of those things within it’s Division and the decisions that are made around them. Any decision to close or amalgamate MUA Branches would invariably have to be determined by the Quadrennial National Conference because of the inherent nature of the rule changes needed to effect such change.

Question: Also why the CFMEU membership fees are much lower than ours? Also they have a great training centre which members get very discounted high risk tickets, crane, Rigging. Etc.

Answer: The CFMEU fees of each Division are set by each Division. The MUA’s have been set by the Quadrennial National Conference at 2% of annual earnings. While some of the Construction Division dues are lower than the MUA’s the Mining and Energy Division’s membership fees are about the same across the board. The MUA is looking at setting up it’s own training centres in various states but we have also discussed that one of the benefits of amalgamation is access to these CFMEU training centres at discounted rates especially given the amount of them across the country.

Question: If we are going to merge then shouldn't all members receive equal benefits such as insurances for travel and income protect, super schemes and training discounts? As well shouldn't all union dues reflect an equal % of a wage earned across the board?

Answer: Much of this question has hopefully been answered above. Benefits for each Division by and large are determined by the leadership and membership of that Division and the various EBA’s they have been able to negotiate within the industries in which they operate. There is much variation between benefits between Divisions of the CFMEU and there will continue to be so as each Division determines it’s priorities for itself. Membership dues are also determined by each Division and the MUA dues closely reflect those of the Mining and Energy Division of the CFMEU. MUA dues were set by our Quadrennial National Conference and reflect an equal % of actual wages earned and have been set at 2% of annual earnings.

If you have further questions please email amalgamation@mua.org.au this email address will be active from 26 September

 

 

 

 


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