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Builder says bikies have joined union
Eddy Withnell. Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian

The peak building body in Australia is concerned over allegations construction union members have enlisted bikies to help in the hotly contested union election.

The Master Builders Association wrote in its newsletter that it had reports of serious tension within the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy union and that bikies were involved in the election.

MBA industrial relations spokesman Kim Richardson said reliable industry sources told him bikies were closely linked to at least one senior unionist, who had signed them up to the union.

Mr Richardson was uncertain how the bikies were involved in the poll but feared their influence.

"The industry in WA does not want to see the construction industry go down the same path as Melbourne, where major industrial disputes have seen the Victorian Police express views about bikies on union picket lines," he said.

"The current police crackdown on bikie gangs gives rise to our concern about any influence bikie gangs might seek to exert in the construction industry." Former Coffin Cheater Eddy Withnell would not confirm or deny he was a member of the WA construction union.

When asked who had his support, he said: "I don't think who a man votes for is anyone's business.

"I take umbrage at this. I see it as an attempt to manipulate a legitimate voting process."

Union secretary Mick Buchan did not respond specifically to the allegations, which come as elections for key union positions begin.

Co-assistant secretaries Joe McDonald and Graham Pallot will seek to ward off a challenge from organiser Mark Hudston in the two-week voting period.

Mr Buchan threw his weight behind Mr McDonald and Mr Pallot.

"No one has done more than Joe McDonald in standing up successfully for the working rights, wages and safety of members," he said.

"The CFMEU and McDonald are proud to be strong and militant. That's why Joe McDonald and Graham Pallot have the total support of myself and every national CFMEU leader to continue as assistant secretaries in the Buchan team."