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Minister launches Australia's largest union



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MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS SENATOR PETER COOK

COMMONWEALTH parliamentary library MiCAH

130/92 Monday 3 August 1992

MINISTER LAUNCHES AUSTRALIA'S LARGEST UNION

The Minister for Industrial Relations, Senator Peter Cook, today launched Australia's largest union, the new Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU).

The LHMU resulted from the merger of the Miscellaneous Workers Union (FMWU) and the Liquor and Allied Employees Union (FLAIEU), giving a combined membership of around 250 000.

Senator Cook welcomed the formation of the LHMU as a positive step towards restructuring and reform of Australia's burgeoning and important service sector.

"The service sector has been plagued by some significant structural problems, employing large percentages of part time and casual staff and having to cope with a high turnover of employees. It is also fragmented with many workers in small,

isolated establishments.

"Key industries covered by the union include tourism, hospitality, health, cleaning, catering, and home care, as well as manufacturing workers in paint, breweries, leather and building materials.

"Membership is among the most diverse of any union in the world, with 50 per cent female and a substantial proportion from migrant backgrounds.

"Already the new union has entered into a pioneering enterprise agreement with the Sheraton Towers Southgate Hotel in Melbourne, the flagship of the ITT Sheraton hotel group in the Pacific.

"Such agreements, supported by both employers and the union, promise to make those significant structural problems a thing of the past.

"A positive attitude towards urgently needed reform and change, combined with a cooperative and united approach by employers and unions, will result in Australia's service sector being among the best and fairest in the world," Senator Cook said.

The amalgamation ballot carried out by the two unions proposing to merge resulted in a 90 per cent "yes" vote among the ballots returned.

Financial assistance with the campaign for amalgamation was provided by the Federal Government under the Union Rationalisation Scheme.

[Media contact: Don Mackay (06) 277 7320]