Union Surge

The Maritime Union is growing - up from just over 9000 members in 2003 to just under 12,000 members in 2009 - and most of the growth is in the west

"The Maritime Union of Australia, which enjoyed the biggest jump with a fourfold increase to 2870 members in June confident the surge is only getting bigger.

"Unions are back in a big way and they're going to get bigger," MUA branch Secretary Chris Cain told the West Australian

Comrade Cain says the branch has tripled its membership in five years and is continuing to grow at a rate that far exceeds any other union or branch. 

"We're training our delegates and it's a rank and file branch," he said.

The state has also enjoyed a boom in exports of LNG and minerals which has been relatively unaffected by the world recession.

As well unions now have right of entry to sites where they were previously banned to talk to workers and recruit - sites where workers were on Australian Workplace Agreements or ununionised.  This was something that was not allowed under the Howard Workchoices regime.

Employers complained to the West Australian they are being bombarded with unions requests to visit sites and that workers did not 'genuinely require' union services.