Manufacturing workers can now vote to leave CFMEU

Man and woman in manufacturing business. | Newsreel
Members of the Manufacturing Division of the CFMEU can now vote to leave the organisation. | Photo: Andresr (iStock)

The manufacturing members of the Construction Forestry and Maritime Employees Union (CFMEU) can now vote to leave the parent organisation after legislation was passed in Federal Parliament this week.

Manufacturing Division National Secretary Michael O’Connor said the new law empowered members to decide if their union stayed amalgamated with, or withdrew from, the CFMEU.

Mr O’Connor said the Manufacturing Division would now facilitate proceedings providing members with a vote by secret ballot conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission.

“We are pleased that the parliament has passed this crucial legislation,” Mr O’Connor said.

He said the Manufacturing Division had wanted to put the question of whether to withdraw from the CFMEU to its members for some years, but was frustrated by the Construction Division’s opposition.

Mr O’Connor said their members worked in vital industries including floor covering, cabinetry, joinery, glass and glazing, installation and shopfitting, forestry, timber and wood products, pulp and paper, furniture, textile clothing and footwear, and building products and materials manufacturing.

“Our members are now on a pathway to a more active and respected role in the labour movement which they can achieve by formally dissociating themselves with the CFMEU and its ever-deteriorating reputation,” Mr O’Connor said.

CFMEU National Secretary Zach Smith said union coverage should not be decided by governments or legislation.

“The CFMEU will never apologise for being a strong militant trade union that delivers industry-leading pay rises and wins world-first safety campaigns, like the engineered stone ban,” he said.

“The construction union is by far best placed to represent construction supply chain workers.”