The Fair Work Commission has today reserved its decision on whether to approve the merger of the CFMEU, MUA and TCFU, with employer groups arguing that proceedings seeking to recover fines and penalties should be taken into account.
As the Australian Federation of Air Pilots seeks talks with objectors to its membership rule change bid before heading to the FWC in a fortnight, Qantas has labelled it "so broad" that it could extend to "any person anywhere", including pilots based outside Australia or employed by foreign entities.
The legislative tension between state and federal union rules has been highlighted after a tribunal dismissed an expelled official's bid for reinstatement on the basis that it lacked the jurisdiction to give orders or directions to a national body.
Employers opposing the merger of the CFMEU, MUA and TCFU have warned the FWC that the unions would use their combined might to cripple the resource and construction industries, but they argue that in any case more than 45 pending penalty proceedings should legally disqualify them from amalgamating.
An FWC full bench has refused the CEPU leave to appeal a ROC decision on financial reporting deadlines, holding that the "real purpose" of the union's case was to avoid potential penalties for failing to meet its statutory obligations.
In the first appeal against a Registered Organisations Commission decision, an FWC full bench has quashed the watchdog's refusal to grant a union more time to submit election information and observed that its approach to defending the case could imply "a lack of impartiality".
The High Court has confirmed that unions are entitled to run underpayment and other contravention cases for un-named classes of employees who are eligible for membership but are not members, paving the way for a pilots union to advance an adverse action claim on behalf of Regional Express cadets.
Time is running out for the Turnbull Government to pass its Bill to impose a public interest test on union mergers before the FWC considers green-lighting the CFMEU, MUA and TCFU amalgamation, with the tribunal planning to conduct a hearing in early February.