The MUA and CFMEU will formally open their first combined conference in Western Australia today as they bring together union members and leaders, not only from across the country but around the world.
Speakers include ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin, CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor, TCFUA National Secretary Michele O’Neil, ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow and ILWU International President Bob McEllrath.
MUA WA Branch Secretary Christy Cain said the conference was a reminder to members of all unions to stand up and fight back, particularly after recent law changes such as the ABCC and Building Code from the blatantly anti-union Turnbull Federal Government.
“It is important to understand the history of our unions, how we got here and what makes our unions’ fighting culture so well recognized within the movement and the community.
“The MUA and CFMEU have both come from a long line of amalgamated unions and the planned merger is merely the next step in our path. This is about knowing the past and owning the future,” Cain said.
CFMEU WA Branch Secretary Mick Buchan said that in the current tough climate for unions it was important to stand up and fight back.
“Both of our unions have never taken a backwards step when it comes to standing up for decent pay and conditions and safety on the job for our members,” Buchan said.
Both unions have this week embraced Progressive Labour in WA in order to best represent union members.
“As unions we believe that the needs of our members must always be our first priority,” the statement form Progressive Labour says.
“For our members we seek well paid, secure and safe employment, dignity and security in retirement, and the ability to participate as full citizens of our society. These are proper and worthy goals for which to strive.
“As proud unionists, we pay respect to the generations of men and women who went before us in the union movement and who helped to create an equitable and prosperous society.
“We believe that unions have a fundamental role to play in ensuring that society continues to uphold the values of equity, respect and tolerance.
“We also believe that Unions, through their work in raising wages and conditions, contribute to a vibrant middle class and as a result, a fairer and more powerful economy.”