In 2017 members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) considered a proposal to amalgamate into one union or alternatively to amalgamate only the CFMEU and the MUA.The ballot was conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and results declared on 28 November 2017. There appears to have been no irregularities affecting the ballot outcome.The Fair Work Commission handed down a decision giving effect to the CFMEU and MUA amalgamation on 27 March 2018.Employer groups Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA) are now appealing the Commission’s decision.The Australian, 9 March 2018, p.2.Employers have taken legal action to try to overturn the Fair Work Commission decision approving the merger of the construction and maritime unions.The Australian Mines and Metals Association and Master Builders Australia yesterday appealed the decision to a commission full bench.The employers are also seeking a stay of the decision, which, if granted, would mean the merger would not proceed from its scheduled date of March 27.The AMMA and MBA say the commission decision contained errors of laws and should not have approved the amalgamation.Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the unions would vigorously oppose the appeal and defend the rights of workers to have freedom of association.“Our members have overwhelmingly supported this amalgamation (with the CFMEU) and it should be up to them to decide whether they merge,” he said.Former employment minister Eric Abetz welcomed the appeal, saying the government should intervene in the proceedings in support of the employer application. He said the government should move urgently to pass laws subjecting union mergers to a public interest test.Workplace Relations Minister Craig Laundy said the government would resume talks with Senate crossbenchers in a bid to win support for the bill, which has yet to be put to a vote.AMMA is lobbying for an amendment to the bill designed to have the public interest test take affect before March 27 but Mr Laundy declined to express a view on the proposed amendment.The Australian, 8 March 2018:Employers have accused the Turnbull government of being missing in action after the Coalition failed to pass laws subjecting union mergers to a public interest test.Workplace Relations Minister Craig Laundy said today the government would resume talks with Senate crossbenchers in a bid to win support for the bill, which has yet to be put to a Senate vote. “The Ensuring Integrity Bill remains a priority for the Government, but because of Labor’s opposition we need the support of the crossbench,’’ he said.“Despite what has been said in recent days, the Government simply didn’t have the numbers to pass the Bill. I am reaching out to the crossbench to see if that has changed.