THE MARITIME Union of Australia has formed a trans-Tasman federation with the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

The new maritime federation, announced at the MUA National Conference in Adelaide, brings the two unions together under a formal arrangement to “build workers’ power at ports throughout Australia and New Zealand”.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the arrangement was “the next logical step” for the unions after decades of working together.

“The fraternal bonds that link our two unions are some of the closest, oldest and most durable in the trade union movement,” Mr Crumlin said.

“Given we are working in an increasingly globalised workplace and standing up against some of the same bosses, it makes perfect sense to expand and bolster the strength of our unions through a formalised federation.”

MUNZ national secretary Craig Harrison said casual labour, injury and workplace fatalities were common throughout maritime history. MUNZ and the MUA were formed from former unions established in the 1800s.

“Our members had to fight for and defend their right to secure, permanent jobs, a decent wage and safe conditions of work,” Mr Harrison said.

“We have stood together to improve the lot of working people and their communities since those early days, and we now look towards an even stronger presence on the waterfront and on our ships across the Asia Pacific through this federation with the MUA.”

MUA, a division of the CFMEU, has branches in every Australian state and the Northern Territory, and MUNZ has ten branches across both the North and South Islands.

The unions said they already attend each other’s national council meetings, share trade union training and stand side by side in in campaigns.