Principles for Amalgamation

Last week at the Quadrennial National Conference on the Gold Coast a resolution concerning the possible amalgamation with the CFMEU was moved and passed unanimously. The resolution in its entirety is below:

The National Council of the MUA has joined with trade union and progressive labour rights activists in strongly condemning the extreme political nature of the industrial offensive against Australian workers from neo-conservative commercial forces and the Abbott (now Turnbull) Government.

The offensive includes the systematic destruction of Australian workers’ rights and job security, particularly through industry policy that is destroying manufacturing and related service industries and, the systematic reduction of trade union rights in mining, hydrocarbon and construction industries in particular. The Royal Commission into Trade Unions and the constant attempts to further erode worker protections and rights through new legislation and the revisiting of old legislation, like the ABCC, is central to this offensive.

Many of the corporations working in conjunction with the Turnbull Government are compromised by their poor governance, tax minimisation and avoidance, corporate negligence and, in some instances, illegal activity. Workers both in Australia and internationally are targeted by these corporations as a whole, with their successes in deregulating work, union busting and the rewarding of industrial bullying, and trade union effective campaigning being bitterly opposed and misrepresented.

It is clear that the trade union movement needs to continue to restructure itself into effective organising and campaigning networks through mergers, affiliations, joint activities and resources and other clear manifestations of unity and solidarity. 

The attempt to destroy Australian maritime workers right to work in the shipping industry is of deep concern to all. The circumvention of the cabotage and immigration Acts by Federal Departments and the replacing of Australian seafarers in coastal and offshore trades has accompanied the destruction of Australian manufacturing, heavy mining and other industry jobs.

We are determined to strengthen the national and international trade union movement to fight back for our rights, including by building stronger and more effective trade unions, particularly with the CFMEU.

Australian society and national development has its foundations in representative trade unionism as a genuine partner in social, political, economic and community justice at work and at home.  The outrageous belittling and savaging by conservative agendas of this national and international contribution by trade unions is best responded to by continuing in the same vein of promoting workers’ rights in a way that secures national economic growth and productivity so that it is redistributed with equity, empathy and in our great tradition of a fair go for everyone.

This strengthening response for working women and men also relies on the great traditions and identity of our union’s determination to continue to renew and build on this proud and effective experience and history. To that effect: 

  1. Any decision on an amalgamation can only be determined through a full plebiscite of the entire MUA membership, once they are fully informed of all developments pertaining to amalgamation discussions and developments and as reported through stop work meetings, AGMs, special meetings and other forums of the union.
  2. The process of amalgamation must first be endorsed by the 2016 MUA National Conference of Members;
  3. The MUA will become a new and separate division of the merged Union;
  4. The new division will retain the MUA’s current rules and assets, including democratic processes, elections and structures other than the requirement for the MUA to find unification with the CFMEU on the national structure of the new union;
  5. Any new division would retain the name Maritime Union of Australia (MUA);
  6. The process of amalgamating must address specific issues and concerns of Branches and workplaces; and
  7. The process and structure of the merged union must ensure that benefits flow to maritime workers in a way that builds on the existing needs and policies of the MUA membership. This will be achieved through a more efficient use of resources and by delivering and realising a more effective and cost efficient support to the membership in mutually agreed areas such as:


  • Industrial Campaigning;
  • Organising;
  • International;
  • Legal;
  • Research;
  • Political campaigning. 


In unity.