web analytics

Remembering forestry workers

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, April 28th, 2014 - 15 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, greens, health and safety, labour, same old national, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

I read the news about yesterday’s remembrance day, and today’s protest march with mixed feelings.  It is a very sad indictment of our current employment conditions that so many people have died on the job in 20th century New Zealand.   However, I also want to congratulate Helen Kelly for her support of the families, colleagues and friends of the deceased forestry workers.  Her efforts have resulted in on-going coverage of the issue in the mainstream media.

forestry

Today on Stuff, Matt Stewart reports:

She never really knew her dad but six-year-old Skyla still finds it hard to be without him, forestry widow Deborah McMillan says.

Skyla was just about to turn two when her father Shane Frater, 28, was killed instantly when falling tree debris smashed into his head on a forestry block near Te Pohue in May 2009.

“She has days when she just sits down and cries out of nowhere,” McMillan said.

Skyla and her mother were just two of more than 100 family members of workers killed on the job at a memorial service held in Wellington to mark yesterday’s international day of remembrance.

The grieving families of forestry workers who have died on the job say the time has come to regulate an industry they believe is controlled by greedy forest owners who push their contractors too hard, ultimately risking workers’ lives.

The families will march for those killed at work and lobby Parliament today, calling for better regulations and a keener focus on health and safety in a multibillion-dollar industry that claimed 11 workers from a workforce of about 6500 last year.

Overall, 51 people died doing their jobs, making forestry the country’s most deadly industry.

 

On NZ Herald, Natalie Akoorie reports on today’s procession to parliament:

The procession of the 100 grieving family members marks international Workers Memorial Day and will be led by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU), which is raising money to bring private prosecutions over at least two of the deaths.

[…]

CTU president Helen Kelly said forestry was six times more dangerous than any other industry but all of the five worst industries followed a theme.

“They’re all primarily de-unionised, have long hours, have very dominant employer relationships and are largely contracted where the principals don’t employ the workers.”

The government has marginalised the health and safety of workers , especially those in the most at-risk jobs, for too long.  Key’s government has prioritized the interests of employers and big business. Simon Bridges, in a belated attempt at catch-up.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges said WorkSafe NZ had a clear mandate to bring down the death and injury toll in the workplace by 25 per cent in 2020.

Since August last year WorkSafe NZ had taken 300 enforcement actions in the forestry industry, including shutting down 25 operations, and there were currently two active prosecutions, he said.

[…]

Mr Bridges said the Health and Safety Reform Bill, currently at select committee, would overhaul the law and extend the duty to keep workers safe beyond the traditional employer.

Labour and the Greens are supporting the Bill as it is an improvement on current legislation, but, as shown in the speeches by the likes of Labour’s Darien Fenton and Damien O’Connor, and the Green MP Denise Roche.  They are concerned about some of the fish hooks in the finer detail, as well as the weak representation of workers.  Workers and unions have little voice in the procedures for health and safety, and health and safety representatives in the workplace are marginalised.  For instance, in the debate for the first reading of the Bill in March, Fenton said:

Labour has called on the Minister time and again to recognise the importance of the role of unions, of business, and of the Government coming together to improve health and safety in this country, but it seems to be being ignored. And then there is the training of health and safety representatives. The bill recognises and implements a worker participation system but is silent on their rights to training.

[…]

but what is also needed is recognition by this Government that our current employment laws and its proposed changes to those will work against the good intentions of this bill. I am calling on the Minister, with the good work on this Health and Safety Reform Bill, to withdraw his Employment Relations Amendment Bill to show that he finally understands that workers’ rights go hand in hand with health and safety.

 

15 comments on “Remembering forestry workers”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Simon Bridges needs more air-time. He’s such an asset to the National Party.

  2. Molly 2

    Such aspiration from Simon Bridges: “Labour Minister Simon Bridges said WorkSafe NZ had a clear mandate to bring down the death and injury toll in the workplace by 25 per cent in 2020.”

    Surely a party in coalition with ACT will have heard of the phrase zero tolerance?

    How hard is it to say “Our current priority will be to ensure that all policies and procedures are in place to continually work towards zero fatalities for NZ’ers at work.”?

    And 2020 as a target deadline – how decisive. Another statement that doesn’t require him to be effective now. And even then it is only a 25% reduction.

    Make you wonder what he thinks of the other 75% that he seems to be comfortable with losing…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      They don’t donate to the National Party. Their employers’ employers do.

    • Rosie 2.2

      It’s a pathetic statement from Bridge’s Molly. Furthermore the Employment Relations Amendment Act will put workers at greater risk of harm. One of the changes is to do with removing the right to a rest break. It will be at the employer’s discretion if and when their workers can take a break.

      Workers who are already in higher risk jobs may experience fatigue and an increased stress which could lead to accidents.

      Andrew Little states how ineffective the new health and safety bill will be:

      “”Workplace regulation has a vital role to play in shaping culture and attitudes to health and safety, and ultimately the best health and safety performance comes down to workers having the knowledge and confidence to challenge unsafe practices, including by management.

      “Although the Government has put up a health and safety bill with improved worker participation, it will be totally meaningless alongside its employment law changes which are designed to shut down the voice of workers and give employers unilateral powers.”

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1404/S00404/workers-memorial-day-little-to-show-for-it.htm

      Sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved ones on the job – they should still be with you. Arohanui.

    • Kahukowhai 2.3

      Sure, if you want to live in a police state, you can have zero fatalities.

      Just shut down all the dangerous industries.

      • Richard McGrath 2.3.1

        You don’t need a police state to reduce forestry industry fatalities. Just remove the human element from the front line. Replace them with machines.

      • Nonsense. The entire London Olympic Park project was completed with no fatalies and less than a third of the building industry average number of accidents per hours worked. We can make work much safer, including dangerous work. It’s not rocket science.
        http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/hse-olympics-research.htm

      • Rosie 2.3.3

        What a ridiculous statement Kahukowhai. Are you even familiar with how and why workplace accidents occur in NZ? Are you aware of the H&S training going on within different industries to educate workers and employers on harm minimisation and how the funding for such education is being reduced by ACC?

        The implementation of Health and Safety regulations have got nothing to do with a police state. You may not have noticed that we are living in a Police state already, where no persons privacy is guaranteed as a result of the GCSB and TICS Act’s. Theres your police state, right there.

        And what an insensitive comment to make on day when people were publicly mourning the deaths of 51 workers. I suggest you have a look at the following link. Look at the faces of the people on the march who have lost loved ones and have a listen to the speeches. You may learn something about the reason people are calling for improvements in H&S in the workplace.

        http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=66775

  3. Darien Fenton 3

    Thanks Karol. It was a heartbreaking service yesterday. Simon Bridges should have to sit and listen. About to meet the march today. My admiration for the courage of the forestry families is immense. Keep on fighting.

  4. Mjoy 4

    There was a recent article in the Listener which makes it clear how this situation has developed, it is very enlightening and definitely worth reading.

  5. I hope Rachel Jones ,Labour’s excellent candidate for Tauranga debates this with Bridges she may well make mince meat of him. Listening to him on morning report today I was shicked at his arrogant reply .

    • Rosie 5.1

      Hi Pinky. Bridges arrogance is indeed shocking. It would be excellent if he could be unseated from Tauranga but it is a deep blue seat and a conservative electorate, so maybe not likely?

      Never the less, I hope the Labour candidate and her team give him heaps and hold him to account during the campaign. Good luck to them – and to the Greens too. I’m sure the people of the B.O. P haven’t forgiven the way the Govt handled the Rena disaster.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • School funding falls by $150 per student
    Parents are having to fork out even more for their kids’ education after the Government cut school funding per student by $150 in the past year, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “According to the Education Ministry, its total per… ...
    47 mins ago
  • School funding falls by $150 per student
    Parents are having to fork out even more for their kids’ education after the Government cut school funding per student by $150 in the past year, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “According to the Education Ministry, its total per… ...
    47 mins ago
  • Government must clamp down on dodgy PTEs
    The Government must ensure all international students coming to New Zealand are legitimate after a survey of those approved in Mumbai found only 9 per cent had genuine intentions and met English language requirements, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Government must clamp down on dodgy PTEs
    The Government must ensure all international students coming to New Zealand are legitimate after a survey of those approved in Mumbai found only 9 per cent had genuine intentions and met English language requirements, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Chance to crack down on foreign speculators
    If John Key is serious about stopping foreign speculators driving house prices out of the reach of Kiwi families, he will support Labour’s Member’s Bill to ban offshore investors from buying existing homes, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “My… ...
    16 hours ago
  • IRD had foreign trusts review on action plan
    The IRD was so ready to review foreign trusts it had the review on its action plan in November 2014, just before the Revenue Minister met with John Key’s lawyer, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The IRD… ...
    18 hours ago
  • IRD had foreign trusts review on action plan
    The IRD was so ready to review foreign trusts it had the review on its action plan in November 2014, just before the Revenue Minister met with John Key’s lawyer, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The IRD… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Māori
    I wrote this blogpost sitting in Parliament listening to the Attorney General’s first reading speech on the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranganui Claims Settlement Bill. He has acknowledged the impact of colonisation that made… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    19 hours ago
  • Rebuilding Christchurch – a lost opportunity?
    In rebuilding Christchurch, the city has a rare chance to build in a sustainable, creative and people-centred way. We can create a city that is so much more than a simple re-construction of buildings and transport links. Christchurch could be… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 days ago
  • Rebuilding Christchurch – a lost opportunity?
    In rebuilding Christchurch, the city has a rare chance to build in a sustainable, creative and people-centred way. We can create a city that is so much more than a simple re-construction of buildings and transport links. Christchurch could be… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 days ago
  • Minister must ensure 111 issue is fixed
    The Police Minister must ensure the 111 fault is fixed as an urgent priority as a 40 minute wait can be the difference between life and death, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash. “The Police have said the fault lies… ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing
    The National Government has made New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The latest International Monetary Fund report shows New Zealand had the world’s second fastest growth in house prices at the… ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing
    The National Government has made New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The latest International Monetary Fund report shows New Zealand had the world’s second fastest growth in house prices at the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hospital meals making you sick
    I don’t know about you but I felt a bit sick watching Health Minister Jonathon Coleman eat supposed Dunedin hospital food last week.  Dunedin people have tolerated a crumbling hospital, lower access to services, longer waiting times and gross food… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Hospital meals making you sick
    I don’t know about you but I felt a bit sick watching Health Minister Jonathon Coleman eat supposed Dunedin hospital food last week.  Dunedin people have tolerated a crumbling hospital, lower access to services, longer waiting times and gross food… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Key needs to stop shifting and come clean
    John Key’s position on his lawyer’s offshore trusts lobbying has changed yet again with the Prime Minister admitting he told Todd McClay that Ken Whitney had approached him, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Yet again information has to be… ...
    2 days ago
  • Key needs to stop shifting and come clean
    John Key’s position on his lawyer’s offshore trusts lobbying has changed yet again with the Prime Minister admitting he told Todd McClay that Ken Whitney had approached him, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Yet again information has to be… ...
    2 days ago
  • Revolutionary art in Palmerston North
    Last night I was a judge at the May Day Cup, an annual theatrical event which celebrates International Workers Day. The event was organised by stalwart unionist Dion Martin and included a range of performers competing for the Cup. This year… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • Revolutionary art in Palmerston North
    Last night I was a judge at the May Day Cup, an annual theatrical event which celebrates International Workers Day. The event was organised by stalwart unionist Dion Martin and included a range of performers competing for the Cup. This year… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • Andrew Little visits Zaatari refugee camp
    Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, has visited the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world, Zaatari in Jordan, a day after seeing New Zealand troops at Camp Taji in Iraq. Mr Little spent several hours in the camp, meeting… ...
    4 days ago
  • Com Com’s Z Energy decision anti-competitive
    The Commerce Commission’s decision to allow Z Energy to buy Caltex can only undermine the competition in the fuel industry that is needed to ensure New Zealanders pay the lowest price for petrol, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.… ...
    4 days ago
  • Com Com’s Z Energy decision anti-competitive
    The Commerce Commission’s decision to allow Z Energy to buy Caltex can only undermine the competition in the fuel industry that is needed to ensure New Zealanders pay the lowest price for petrol, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.… ...
    4 days ago
  • OAG raps Govt over the knuckles on HNZ contracts
    The Government has been rapped over the knuckles by the Auditor General over its failure to properly manage $2.3m of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to a merchant banker advising them on the state house sell-off, says Labour’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • OAG raps Govt over the knuckles on HNZ contracts
    The Government has been rapped over the knuckles by the Auditor General over its failure to properly manage $2.3m of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to a merchant banker advising them on the state house sell-off, says Labour’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Brownlee must step in as EQC spin exposed
    Gerry Brownlee needs to step in after EQC’s desperate spin in the wake of yesterday’s landmark settlement has been exposed by its own documents, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Yesterday’s settlement showed that thousands of homes may not have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Brownlee must step in as EQC spin exposed
    Gerry Brownlee needs to step in after EQC’s desperate spin in the wake of yesterday’s landmark settlement has been exposed by its own documents, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Yesterday’s settlement showed that thousands of homes may not have… ...
    5 days ago
  • OIO must explain Argentine pollution prosecutions
    The Overseas Investment Office (OIO)has questions to answer about how it safeguarded our sensitive land by allowing foreign investors with criminal prosecutions to purchase Onetai Station in Taranaki, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe.   “Rafael and Federico Grozovsky… ...
    5 days ago
  • Aussie banks in NZ should ban lending to offshore buyers
    ASB, Westpac and ANZ must confirm whether or not they will continue to fund the over-heated property market by lending to non-resident offshore home buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This issue has arisen because their parent banks have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Aussie banks in NZ should ban lending to offshore buyers
    ASB, Westpac and ANZ must confirm whether or not they will continue to fund the over-heated property market by lending to non-resident offshore home buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This issue has arisen because their parent banks have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Murray McCully needs to come clean over Tokelau ferry debacle
    Foreign Minister Murray McCully needs to come clean on why a New Zealand aid-funded vessel intended to service the Tokelau Islands is delayed, over budget and failed its sea trials, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The new ship… ...
    5 days ago
  • Full independent inquiry needed to save New Zealand’s reputation
    Revelations that John Key's personal lawyer and trust advisor led a lobbying campaign to shut down a review of New Zealand's foreign trust regime makes the case for a full scale independent inquiry a matter of urgency, Labour's Finance spokesperson… ...
    5 days ago
  • Full independent inquiry needed to save New Zealand’s reputation
    Revelations that John Key's personal lawyer and trust advisor led a lobbying campaign to shut down a review of New Zealand's foreign trust regime makes the case for a full scale independent inquiry a matter of urgency, Labour's Finance spokesperson… ...
    5 days ago
  • Andrew Little visits NZ troops in Iraq and refugees in Jordan
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has visited New Zealand troops at Camp Taji, Iraq. Mr Little also met with Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obedih and senior military officials from the Coalition forces in Iraq. He now heads to Jordan to see… ...
    6 days ago
  • Workplace death toll still too high
    It’s a damning indictment on the Government that as workers gather to remember their lost workmates on Worker’s Memorial Day, New Zealand’s workplace death toll is still far too high, Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “At… ...
    6 days ago
  • Workplace death toll still too high
    It’s a damning indictment on the Government that as workers gather to remember their lost workmates on Worker’s Memorial Day, New Zealand’s workplace death toll is still far too high, Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “At… ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister must come clean on implications of landmark settlement
    Gerry Brownlee has urgent and serious questions to answer in the wake of today’s landmark EQC settlement, which potentially has major implications for thousands of Cantabrians, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. ...
    6 days ago
  • Mossack Fonseca links to OIO approvals must be investigated
    The Minister for Land Information must investigate and disclose how many applications to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) have links to Mossack Fonseca, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Labour can now reveal the OIO approved an application from… ...
    6 days ago
  • Mossack Fonseca links to OIO approvals must be investigated
    The Minister for Land Information must investigate and disclose how many applications to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) have links to Mossack Fonseca, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Labour can now reveal the OIO approved an application from… ...
    6 days ago
  • Govt complacency leaves RB no room to cut
    The Government has put the economy in a holding pattern, leaving the Reserve Bank Governor with little room to manoeuvre as he tries to balance a rampant housing market with non-existent inflation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler… ...
    6 days ago
  • Govt complacency leaves RB no room to cut
    The Government has put the economy in a holding pattern, leaving the Reserve Bank Governor with little room to manoeuvre as he tries to balance a rampant housing market with non-existent inflation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler… ...
    6 days ago
  • Dam not out of doldrums yet
    Ruataniwha Dam promoters Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) still has hurdles to clear and a lot of work to do before ratepayers and taxpayers will have confidence in the scheme, says Labour’s MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Meka Whaitiri.“We need sustainable… ...
    6 days ago
  • New study shows Smith’s insulation fails Kiwi kids
    A new Otago University study shows Nick Smith’s inadequate insulation standards will see hundreds of children unnecessarily hospitalised for housing-related illnesses every year, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. ...
    7 days ago
  • Government out of touch on foreign trusts
    John Key’s poor handling of the foreign trusts issue is starkly revealed in a poll today which shows the majority of Kiwis are worried about the country being a tax haven and almost half think the issue has been badly… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government out of touch on foreign trusts
    John Key’s poor handling of the foreign trusts issue is starkly revealed in a poll today which shows the majority of Kiwis are worried about the country being a tax haven and almost half think the issue has been badly… ...
    7 days ago
  • Biggest trade deficit for 7 years a warning for Govt
    The biggest trade deficit for seven years shows the Government can’t be so complacent about the economy and must take action to diversify and encourage exports, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The biggest driver has been the fall in… ...
    7 days ago
  • Biggest trade deficit for 7 years a warning for Govt
    The biggest trade deficit for seven years shows the Government can’t be so complacent about the economy and must take action to diversify and encourage exports, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The biggest driver has been the fall in… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government’s record on climate change under fire
      The Royal Society’s latest report on climate change has made it clear that it believes the Government’s current approach to climate change is inadequate, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Megan Woods.  “The report, ‘Transition to a low-carbon economy… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government’s record on climate change under fire
      The Royal Society’s latest report on climate change has made it clear that it believes the Government’s current approach to climate change is inadequate, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Megan Woods.  “The report, ‘Transition to a low-carbon economy… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mainfreight director agrees with Labour on rail funding
    Richard Prebble – in the past accused of ruining rail and now a director of Mainfreight – agrees with Labour that secure funding for KiwiRail is the best way to minimise congestion in our major cities, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson… ...
    1 week ago
  • Mainfreight director agrees with Labour on rail funding
    Richard Prebble – in the past accused of ruining rail and now a director of Mainfreight – agrees with Labour that secure funding for KiwiRail is the best way to minimise congestion in our major cities, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere