Setka under pressure from major unions

The ACTU and Australia's three biggest unions are urging Victorian CFMMEU boss John Setka to quit.
The ACTU and Australia's three biggest unions are urging Victorian CFMMEU boss John Setka to quit.

Construction union boss John Setka faces growing pressure to resign with Australia's three largest unions backing calls for him to exit his job for the good of the labour movement.

The call comes ahead of a Labor national executive meeting on July 5 which will consider Mr Setka's expulsion from the party, which has in the past received strong financial support from his Construction Forestry Maritime Mining And Energy Union.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus on Thursday demanded Mr Setka resign as secretary of the Victorian CFMMEU branch.

Mr Setka is facing court later in June when he is expected to plead guilty to two criminal charges, including one of using a carriage service to harass a woman.

The outcry over his leadership has grown louder in the past week after he was accused of telling union colleagues that anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty's advocacy had led to men having fewer rights.

Mr Setka has denied making any remarks denigrating Ms Batty at the union executive meeting.

While Mr Setka won public support from the construction arms of the Victorian and NSW branches, Ms McManus has been backed in by the three largest unions in the country.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA), and the Australian Education Union (AEU) - representing largely female workforces - have a combined membership of more than 650,000.

The CFMMEU has about 130,000 members.

ANMF federal secretary Annie Butler said her organisation backed the ACTU's resignation demand.

"The ANMF has, and always will have a, zero tolerance toward any form of violence and we are working hard with our members to combat family violence," she told AAP

SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said Mr Setka should resign his leadership position in the best interests of his union.

AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe and secretary Susan Hopgood said union leaders had to call out any behaviours that damaged the movement and its members.

The Victorian Trades Hall council met on Friday, but would not comment on any discussion about Mr Setka's fate.

It made a statement on Tuesday saying the council "condemns all forms of gendered violence" without mentioning the construction unionist by name.

Labor frontbencher Michelle Rowland says disaffiliating with the CFMMEU Victorian branch should be considered if Mr Setka digs in.

The NSW branch of the union has called on Mr Albanese to pull back from expelling Mr Setka.

Australian Associated Press