Union battle looms over WA mines


Union battle looms over WA mines

By Geoff Spencer

PERTH — With the announcement of merger talks between the WA branches of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and the Metal and Engineering Workers Union (MEWU), battle lines have been drawn over coverage of workers in the state's mining industry. The proposal follows amalgamation talks between the Electrical, Foundry and Engineering Union (AEEFEU) and the Construction, Mining and Energy Union (CMEU).

The AEEFEU-CMEU amalgamation could challenge ACTU plans for the WA mining industry, for which the AWU claims principal status. The AWU-MEWU merger would unite up to 45,000 workers in one of the state's most powerful unions and dramatically boost the right wing in the WA Trades and Labor Council.

Union structures in WA differ from those in most other states. The AEEFEU and the CMEU both grew out of amalgamations that took place in WA and not elsewhere. Both are significant unions in the mining industry.

The CMEU is linked with the national Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), and in recent months mineworkers in both NSW and Tasmania have moved to leave the MEWU and the AWU to join the CFMEU and the FEDFA, which is soon to vote on amalgamation with the CFMEU.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.