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John Setka’s CFMEU branch lashes ‘un-Australian’ ACTU leadership

Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross decided to pause a decision on the fast-food deal earlier this week because he said there was not enough evidence it would save jobs. The case will go back to the commission next week.


On its own Facebook page the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union, which challenged the fast-food deal, welcomed the CFMEU’s intervention and said the ACTU had been “utterly shameful” in supporting the deal.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, which negotiated the deal along with the ACTU and employer groups, had earlier said it was necessary to “ensure work for as many fast-food employees as possible in a sector hard hit by COVID-19”. The ACTU declined to comment.

Mr Setka came into conflict with Ms McManus last year when she told him to resign after he harassed his wife Emma Walters via text message.

Mr Setka, who remains in his role, has since reconciled with his wife but the fallout from the saga continues.

Last month Mr Setka won a Federal Court battle launched by Michael O’Connor, the union’s national secretary and boss of its manufacturing division, who argued Mr Setka had broken union rules by recruiting manufacturing members to his construction division.

In another Facebook post on Friday Mr Setka’s branch re-posted a long message from one of Mr Setka’s supporters, former CFMEU national president Joe McDonald, attacking Mr O’Connor.

Long-time unionist Joe McDonald (above) castigated CFMMEU national secretary Michael O'Connor.

Long-time unionist Joe McDonald (above) castigated CFMMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor.Credit:Jonathan Barrett

“If I am a bitter and twisted old unionist these days it is because I have had to watch the spectacle of a union secretary sue another one play out on the front pages of the national press,” said Mr McDonald, who racked up a long list of convictions as a union official and was expelled from the Labor Party by Kevin Rudd in 2007.

His Labor membership was later reinstated.

“Michael, this goes back to the attack on John, and when your silence at a time when people were piling onto the bandwagon was deafening,” Mr McDonald said.

“History is never kind to touts, Michael. Just ask Judas.”

Mr O’Connor did not respond to requests for comment.

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