WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
With the unanimous endorsement of National Convention and Central Council, the Mining and Energy Division has made an application to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for a ballot to withdraw from the CFMMEU under demerger provisions in the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act.
Our application includes a ‘scheme of withdrawal’ which covers our proposed new rules, assets, coverage and name.
The FWC will set the timetable for the member ballot process, including hearings.
If a majority of members support leaving the CFMMEU in the ballot, the Mining and Energy Division will apply to the Federal Court seeking orders to transfer assets to the newly registered union and fix a withdrawal date.
WHEN CAN WE VOTE?
The FWC will set the timetable for the ballot process, but it is likely to be some months from the date of application (26 March 2021) before members can vote.
Members will be given plenty of notice and information about the ballot. We will be aiming to achieve maximum participation from Mining and Energy members.
DO MEMBERS OF OTHER DIVISIONS HAVE A VOTE?
No. Mining and Energy Members have the right to determine the future of their Union as an independent registered Union or remaining part of the CFMMEU. Members of other Divisions don’t have a vote.
WILL WE BE STRONGER OR WEAKER AS AN INDEPENDENT UNION?
Stronger. The Mining and Energy Division is in a strong position financially and organisationally. We already operate as an autonomous Union. Any benefit we once gained from being part of the CFMMEU, like a centralised campaign capacity, has been dismantled due to internal conflict. We would be a small union in numbers but with solid finances, the respect of our communities and a great track of representing mining and energy workers. Independence means we can focus entirely on the needs of our own members.
WOULD LEAVING THE CFMMEU AFFECT OUR MEMBERSHIP, ELECTIONS OR LODGE ACTIVITIES?
No. Under the withdrawal process, if Mining and Energy Division Members support leaving the CFMMEU then all of our Division’s members automatically transfer to the new Union. It is not necessary to conduct new elections for District or Lodge officials. All existing Enterprise Agreements would remain in place and current union activities and structures continue.
WHAT WOULD A NEW UNION BE CALLED?
It is proposed that a new independent union would be called the Mining and Energy Union and we would keep our existing logo with the black and yellow map of Australia, pick, shovel and flame.
WHAT CHANGES WITH INDEPENDENCE?
For Members on the ground, little will change except the name. Independence gives us more control over our future and ensures all our resources are directed to Mining and Energy members.
WOULD WE LEAVE ANY OF OUR ASSETS BEHIND?
No. Under demerger provisions, ownership of assets owned by our Division would transfer to the new union. There would be no change to the National Assistance Fund or District Funeral Funds.
ARE THERE PLANS TO MERGE WITH ANY OTHER UNION?
No. The options are to remain part of the CFMMEU or become an independent Mining and Energy Union. If members vote for independence, then the intention is to become a genuinely independent union representing mining and energy workers. Other unions may express an interest in joining with us down the track, which would be considered via our democratic processes.
CAN MINING AND ENERGY MEMBERS ELECT TO STAY WITHIN THE CFMMEU?
No. It is either ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ of the CFMMEU, depending on members’ vote. If a majority vote to leave, then all members working in areas we cover are transferred to the new union.
WHO WOULD THE NEW MINING AND ENERGY UNION COVER?
The new union would have the same coverage as the existing Mining and Energy Division – it would not cover anyone not currently eligible to be covered.
That includes certain classes of workers in coal mines, coal ports, power stations, oil refineries, metalliferous mines in Broken Hill and iron ore train drivers in the Pilbara.
In 2013 the Mining and Energy Division formed the Western Mineworkers Alliance with the Australian Workers Union covering some iron ore miners in the Pilbara in QA – this joint venture would continue.