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Industrial Relations, Union

Vale former CFMEU National Secretary Stan Sharkey

CFMEU 2 mins read

Statement from CFMEU National Secretary Construction and General Zach Smith, CFMEU National Secretary Christy Cain and MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin:


The CFMEU celebrates the great contribution of Stan Sharkey to the union, the construction industry and the working class.


Stan passed away in Sydney on Thursday night after a long illness.


He was the first joint National Secretary of the CFMEU after holding the roles of National Secretary, Assistant National Secretary and New South Wales Secretary of the Building Workers Industrial Union.


Stan was known as a tough, principled and tenacious union leader who was respected by employers and workers alike for his integrity.


He was, along with Pat Clancy, Tom McDonald and Ernie Boatswain, part of the BWIU Federal leadership team which established many of the conditions which construction workers enjoy today, in particular Superannuation and Severance (redundancy) pay. 


He was also a strong internationalist and part of the union leadership that financially supported the formation of APHEDA, the trade union organisation that helps trade unionists overseas.


The MUA also expressed its deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, members and retired members of the construction division, along with his legion of friends and comrades in Australia and internationally.


The maritime union described Stan as fearless, committed, tough as teak and motivated by the needs of others before all else.


The MUA paid tribute to Stan's as a celebration of the working class values of empathy, tenacity, dialogue and consensus within a genuine united front that permeated not only the Australian trade union and progressive movement but also the international movement for peace, social and economic justice and equity and political accountability.


Stan was born and raised in Sydney during the tough years of the depression and Second World War.


He served his apprenticeship and became a bricklayer, joining the union and the Communist Party – later the Socialist Party – in response to the injustice he saw in Australia and globally.

Stan was an official with the union in tough times and was known for his physical and political courage, never backing down in the face of intimidation.


Stan was a serious sports lover, particularly Rugby League and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.


He was an accomplished boxer fighting 17 professional bouts in the light weight class, for 12 wins and a draw.


Stan was a mentor and inspiration to generations of unionists.


He is survived by his wife Paula and his children Maxine, Emma, Steve, Kerry and Debra.

Contact details:

Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480

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