The Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson, is holding a meeting today with 25 top CEOs on the number of New Zealanders who are killed every year at work.
The fact it’s being billed as an example of ‘partnership’ shows a lot about this Government’s worldview, because she’s specifically excluded any representation from the workers who’re actually being killed on the job.
As the Maritime Union’s Trevor Hanson points out:
‘There’s one problem here this proposed group is missing the people who get hurt and killed on the job, who are workers, generally not chief executives or Government agents.’
Mr Hanson says private business have a conflict of interest because ‘down at the coal face’ health and safety measures were often seen as a drain on profits.
‘The Minister is correct when she says business executives are in a prime position to influence attitudes and practices. The only problem is in our experience this influence has often been negative as some companies we have seen place profits over health and safety, especially through contracting out and similar practices.’
National’s top-down approach here shouldn’t come as a surprise. National is, after all, a party opposed to its core to the idea of workplace democracy. That’s why the party was founded in the first place.
In National’s view, the role of the company is to act as a private tyranny. Workers are there to work for the boss and do what they’re told. They’re not supposed to get a seat at the table.