A MERGER of the Maritime Union with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has been approved by the Fair Work Commission.
The announcement came through on Tuesday.
The new entity is to be called the CFMMEU (with an extra ‘M’ for maritime) and also incorporates the smaller Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA).
MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin described the announcement as “a great day for our union, the TCFUA, CFMEU and the entire trade union movement in Australia and internationally”.
“The Fair Work Commission has recognised our legitimate right to form our new union with the overwhelming support of our membership,” Mr Crumlin said.
“The employers have persistently tried to block the merger, together with the Turnbull Government.
“The only basis for this opposition is to further attack the rights of maritime, construction, forestry and manufacturing workers in this country.”
Mr Crumlin said employers would probably appeal “but the members have spoken”.
“The Fair Work Commission has confirmed that voice and we will now continue to embark on forming the new union regardless of their opposition – legal, political, industrial or otherwise,” Mr Crumlin said.
CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor said they would “hit the ground running” with the first meeting of senior national officials in Melbourne on Friday.
“Big business has too much power, we have record levels of inequality in our community, and working families are finding it hard to make ends meet,” Mr O’Connor said.
“We will be fighting every day to restore the fair go.”
Employer group AMMA was quoted as saying it was assessing its options in the wake of the decision.