Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

FPU AWU amalgamation approved; objections and application by NUW to intervene dismissed

The Full Bench unanimously approved an application to amalgamate by The Australian Workers Union, West Australian Branch, Industrial Union of Workers (AWU) and The Food Preservers’ Union of Western Australia Union of Workers (FPU). 

Before considering the application, the Full Bench dealt with an application to intervene by the National Union of Workers (NUW).  Several purported members of the FPU also lodged an objection to the amalgamation.  Each of those applications was dismissed.

The NUW said it said it has a ‘sufficient interest’ to intervene in the proceedings because the amalgamation may lead to disputation between the NUW and AWU in the Fair Work Commission and the NUW’s reputation was disparaged during FPU’s annual general meetings. 

The Full Bench held potential disputation in the Fair Work Commission does not give the NUW a sufficient interest to intervene.  Potential disputes in other jurisdictions are not relevant to the Full Bench’s consideration because it cannot deal with that ‘controversy'.  The Full Bench’s reasons also made mention of the fact that the NUW has no presence in the State industrial relations system.  

The Full Bench also found that the alleged disparagement did not establish a sufficient interest for the NUW.  The NUW cannot apply for coverage of FPU members because it is ‘not registered as an organisation under the’ Industrial Relations Act.  Therefore, the NUW has no right to procedural fairness ‘in these proceedings in relation to the statements’ at the FPU meetings.  In any event, the Full Bench noted that the alleged statements could not make any difference to the outcome of the application for amalgamation. 

The Full Bench also dismissed all purported members’ objections.  The Full Bench found some of the persons seeking to object were not eligible to do so because they had either resigned their membership of the FPU or had not paid their membership for over 3 months and so, pursuant to s 64B of the Industrial Relations Act 1979, they were no longer members of the FPU.  The objectors who were members had filed their objections out of time and did not satisfy the Full Bench that there was good reason to extend time to file the objections. 

The decision can be read here

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