Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
|Full name||Automotive, Food, Metals, Engineering, Printing and Kindred Industries Union|
|Key people||Paul Bastian, National Secretary|
|Office location||Granville, New South Wales|
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, or more fully, the Automotive, Food, Metals, Engineering, Printing and Kindred Industries Union (AMWU) ("The Metalworkers") is an Australian trade union that is registered with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and is affiliated with the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
The AMWU is considered to be the most powerful left-wing union in the trade union movement. It is made up of five divisions, representing different industries or occupational groups: Vehicle division, Metal and Engineering division, the Food and Confectionery division, the Technical, Supervisory and Administrative division (for white collar workers) and the Printing division.
The AMWU has its origins in the amalgamation of four metal trade unions - the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Society of Australia, the Federated Jewellers, Watchmakers and Allied Trades Union of Australia, the Sheet Metal Working Industrial Union of Australia and the Amalgamated Engineering Union - to form the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union (AMWU) in 1973. At its formation the AMWU had a membership of 171,000, making it the largest organisation in Australia.
Seven years later, after amalgamation with the Federated Shipwrights and Ship Constructors Union of Australia, the AMWU changed its name to the Amalgamated Metal Workers and Shipwrights Union (AMWSU). When the Federated Moulders’ (Metals) Union amalgamated in 1983, the union's name changed slightly to the Amalgamated Metals Foundry & Shipwrights’ Union, but in 1985 reverted to the Amalgamated Metal Workers’ Union.
A 1991 amalgamation with the Association of Draughting Supervisory & Technical Employees (ADSTE) created the Metals and Engineering Workers’ Union. Two years later a further amalgamation with the Vehicle Builders Employees’ Federation of Australia resulted in the Automotive Metals & Engineering Union. In 1994 this union merged with the Confectionery Workers' and Food Preservers’ Union, itself a recent amalgamation of the Food Preservers' Union of Australia and the Confectionery Workers' Union of Australia, to form the Automotive Food Metals and Engineering Union. Finally, the Printing and Kindred Industries Union amalgamated to form the printing division of the Automotive, Food, Metals, Engineering, Printing and Kindred Industries Union.
Food and Confectionery division
Around 1898 a union of jam sauce and pickle workers formed, but only registered in 1911 as the Jam Sauce Pickle & Food Preserving Employees' Union of Australia. In 1916 it changed its name to the Amalgamated Food Preserving Employees' Union of Australia. The union was insignificant in organising food workers until 1922, when it was reorganised under the leadership of Percy Clarey, a Victorian. The union changed its name again in 1929 to the Food Preservers' Union of Australia. While it had fluctuating membership due to the seasonal nature of canning work, the union was one of the few which maintained a strong presence in rural Australia. In 1992 the union merged with the Confectionery Workers' Union.
In 1925 the Federated Confectioners Association of Australia registered with the AIRC. In 1986 they changed their name to the Confectionery Workers Union of Australia. In 1992 it merged with the Food Preservers Union of Australia to form the Confectionery Workers & Food Preservers Union of Australia. This new union then amalgamated with the Automotive Metals & Engineering Union in 1994 to form the Automotive Food Metals & Engineering Union.
- Reeves, Andrew and Andrew Dettmer (eds.) Organise, educate, control: the AMWU in Australia, 1852-2012. Clayton, Victoria: Monash University Publishing, 2013. ISBN 9781922235008.