Remember lessons of Pike River, say unions

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 09:09 07/11/2012
Helen Kelly
MAARTEN HOLL/Dominion Post
HELEN KELLY: Says workers in dangerous professions need a voice.

Relevant offers

Politics

Bill English attends Ratana for first time as Prime Minister - and a day earlier than expected US scrapping TPP bad for NZ - English Sam Sachdeva: Greens take the lead as parties prepare candidates for 2017 election David Slack: No need to go overboard Selling scratchies online would increase gambling harm - Ministry of Health What did Donald say to Melania during that Waltz? GCSB Intercepts heard every word Ready or not, it's election year and the annual theatrics have started Angela Roberts looks back on ups, downs and almosts of four years at helm of PPTA Is politics the next move for outgoing PPTA president Angela Roberts? GP and poet Glenn Colquhoun: 'Every week I hear at least one story I thought was not possible.'

Unions are calling for learnings of the Pike River to impact change in other high-risk industries.

But those in the forestry and agriculture industries said efforts were already being made.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said the over-riding theme of the Royal Commission report into the Pike River tragedy was the need for workers to have rights and a voice.

''It highlighted how the labour inspectorate naturally assumed Pike was a safe mine and good employer, regardless of the evidence otherwise or the interests the workers had in that not being the assumption.''

The Government must ensure that labour protections were stronger and protected through good legislation and enforcement mechanisms, she said.

And proposed employment law changes would further weaken worker representation in health and safety.

''Workers working long hours for low wages will make mistakes and hurt themselves, workers operating as small independent contractors are often ignored in health and safety systems.''

The 'business knows best' approach should be stopped, Ms Kelly said.

''The report calls for the re-regulation of work - the message is clear - the balance is wrong - it needs to be rebalanced in mining and across the NZ economy.''

The Forest Owners Association said attempts to improve workplace safety had been under way for some time.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Where do you stand on political coat-tail riding?

If it gets marginalised voices into Parliament, I'm for it.

I'm against it - if you don't get the votes, you shouldn't be there.

It's just part of the political game.

Vote Result

Related story: Voters reject riding on the coat-tails

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content