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What killed Ken Callow?

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 pm, February 18th, 2013 - 13 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

The  attitude of production over safety that led to the Pike River tragedy is still rife in New Zealand. People are being injured and killed in our forests at five times the rate of the UK.

This video tells the story of one of the families left behind after their son Ken was killed by a falling tree:

Ken was killed in the Wharerata forest – one of three forestry deaths in that forest in the last 20 months. Each of the three deceased worked for separate contracting companies. The forest owners benefitted from Ken’s work, but offered no reciprocal employment protections as they had contracted that out to his direct employer. Ken appears to have made a terrible mistake, while at work one day, resulting in his death. Under production pressure, he appears to have abandoned the felling of a tree on which he had begun work due to discovering it was rotten and of no value. He moved on to the next tree leaving a hazard close by which collapsed on him taking his life. The DOL inspector found Ken was “the architect of this own demise”. The inspector does not appear to have taken into account whether the terms and conditions of Ken’s employment may have impacted on his decision to leave a hazard in place. A forest owner in the region described the three deaths as “unfortunate”.

This is a national scandal, but we can all help push it up the agenda. Go to the campaign fundraising site and donate some cash to get Ken’s story on a billboard.

You can donate here.

If we all chip in a bit we can make a big difference.

 

13 comments on “What killed Ken Callow?”

  1. saarbo 1

    This cause is critical, similar story with New Zealand farmworkers.

    I tried to sign in to make a donation but the system seems to be playing up. Is there a bank account I can deposit into?

    • Helen Kelly 1.1

      Hi saarbo. Can you try again. It seems to be working for me but it is a new site and I am keen to chck it.

      • bad12 1.1.1

        Welcome to the Standard Helen…

      • saarbo 1.1.2

        Worked that time Helen, it didnt like my g.mail email account name I think.

        I am witnessing some terrible conditions being faced by Contract workers, lets hope this cause gains some real momentum…

        • Helen Kelly 1.1.2.1

          Great thanks

          • Tim 1.1.2.1.1

            What killed him? The same thing that killed Pike River miners. Lack of inspection capability, lack of regulation in favour of the ‘efficiencies and supposed effectiveness’ of self-regulation. (TINA after all!)
            Saarbo has a concern for farm workers that is WELL founded.
            I still have a Labour Department reference number to do with employees getting ripped off and working in potentially dangerous situations. It went nowhere (due to lack of resource, THEN a certain merger).

            Farm workers; fishermen; students that have been promised a tertiary education followed by appropriate work experience relevant to their qualifications following graduation – who end up picking grapes rather than any sort of business management experience; and so on, and so on!

            Just like 100% pure, NZ’s reputation is being (and in some quarters already) utterly destroyed.

            It’s interesting to see Cameron now greasing up to India. I’d LOVE to see John Key (or Joolyah Gillid for that matter) try that same trick! It’s not only the drunken-salior attitude and laziness that should now have him worried – it’s his attitude and what must be a growing awareness of the legacy he’s about to leave.

            No wonder on another post, people were wondering whether he was pissd.
            Poor fucking Bronagh!

  2. vto 2

    By being paid on the basis of tree dollar he discounted the risk and paid with his life.

    Just like rhino hunters in central Africa.

    Those who insist on this service are scum. Just like in central Africa.

  3. Yes good stuff, thank you CTU & Helen Kelly,
    I suspect this is the tip of the iceberg with regard to working conditions in New Zealand. It would be good to see workplace conditions addressed across the board. I believe many many positive consequences would follow if this were addressed; including the long-term health effects on workers.

    I like the way this article makes lucid the tangible effects of pressure on the safety and wellbeing of workers.

  4. xtasy 4

    As much as I sympathise and am appalled about the deteriorating working conditions in a number of sectors, construction, furniture removal, warehousing, working on fishing vessels, horticulture, and so forth, I would love to donate.

    But as a beneficiary, struggling from week to week, just to pay the very basics, I feel disenfranchised by this rotten government in NZ, so I do not only suffer from being denied to take part in basic social activities that cost a bit, I also feel “shamed” to not being able to contribute a bit, where it is more than justified.

    If I have a bit to “spare” in the coming week or so, I will endeavour though.

  5. Rogue Trooper 5

    Helen Kelly; swoon (she is a National Treasure)

    • Trickledrown 5.1

      forestry contractors are ripping off workers all the time
      dairy farmers and share milkers are ripping off their workers all the time
      fishing boats are ripping off their workers.
      where is national or labour on this matter spinning BS again
      I rang Damien O’Conartist( o’conner to others) and his quote was we can’t go upsetting farmers to much when I pointed out the results of a survey I had done on farm workers.
      All the random farm workers I asked all said they were forced to work longer hours than paid for in unsafe conditions yet the share milkers and farmers were creaming it.

      • asd 5.1.1

        Damiens O’ Conners a union bashing neo-liberal from way back and I don’t why the hell he’s in the Labour Party to start with. Doesn’t surprise me he won’t stand up for workers rights.

  6. millsy 6

    I actually blame the privatisation of the state forests in the late ’80’s/early ’90s, more than anything else for this, with that came with all this contracting BS, with someone owning the forests/trees/cutting rights , the Crown (or someone else) owning the land, a management company responsbile for day to day operations, and of course, logging companies doing the actual harvesting. Its not suprising that wages and conditions go south.

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