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National Ltd™ Enabling Corporate Murderers

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, August 14th, 2015 - 12 comments
Categories: accountability, employment, health and safety, jobs, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , , , , ,

While both Labour and National Ltd™ are, IMHO, as guilty as the other for the Pike River deaths, National Ltd™ has learned nothing and, in fact, is preparing to make things worse. After failing to insist on prosecutions stemming from the Pike River tragedy, National Ltd™ is  adding insult to those deaths by watering down legislation derived directly from lessons learned at Pike River.

But wait there’s more . . . National Ltd™’s attitude to worker safety has, it seems, already been successfully installed into the very government agency responsible for holding employers to account for worker deaths – the laughingly labeled WorkSafe. This has been highlighted over the last two weeks thanks to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU). More than ably assisted by Nigel Hampton QC, the CTU took two prosecutions against employers in the forestry industry for failing to provide a safe workplace, and won convictions in both cases.

What makes these cases remarkable is that not only was it the CTU which took the prosecutions but also that the CTU used  exactly  the same information and witnesses available to WorkSafe, which, in both cases, decided not to prosecute!

Meanwhile, National Ltd™, inter alia,  intends now to reverse legislation which currently requires employers to provide safety gear. Instead, employers escape that responsibility by being allowed to pay a pittance allowance which, even if the employee is on some minimum-wage variation of a zero-hours contract, shifts responsibility onto the worker. Sickeningly, that particular tweak partially legitimises the circumstances which lead up to the first prosecution. In that case, the worker, after more than 20 years in the industry, was on $16 an hour and, illegally, being paid a $5 a week allowance to cover the cost of all his personal protective equipment.

No doubt, Human Resources Managers have already prepared reports on how many pennies can be saved by their corporate-murderer masters thanks to this and other National Ltd™ attacks on New Zealand workers’ right to a safe workplace.

For some background into the first death and a wider view of the whole situation checkout Radio New Zealand’s Nine-To-Noon interview with CTU President, Helen Kelly.

[audio:http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20150804-0908-union_succeeds_in_prosecution_over_forestry_death-048.mp3]

or here

12 comments on “National Ltd™ Enabling Corporate Murderers ”

  1. Sabine 1

    52*5=260$ per year on safety gear. Good Grief.

    and this is before tax. Good fucking Grief.

    • joe90 1.1

      Good fucking Grief.

      A pair of cheap steel caps that probably won’t see out the year.

    • The following quick list of the basic personal protection I use when in a joinery workshop, the ballpark price, and how long the item is used before replacement.
      You can have a look at some prices here.

      Specs $20.00. 3 to 9 months.
      I treat these as disposable. I could get a really expensive pair that doesn’t scratch, but I’ve had glasses go missing before – whether I’ve misplaced them, or someone has lifted them I do not know.

      Goggles $50.00. 3 years.
      These are really good, don’t scratch up, but decrease awareness of surroundings, and are a hassle to use. I only use these in conjunction with the mask.

      Boots, ankle protection, capped. $250 – $400. 2-4 years.
      Don’t skimp on footwear.
      As soon as any stitch, glue join or the fit is compromised, replace them.

      Ear protection basic class 5. $50-$120. 6 – 18 months, or until someone steals them.

      Half mask 3 years $40 – $80. 3-5 years
      particulate filter (single pair) 3 months $30
      gas/vapour filter (single pair) 6 months $40
      prefilter for gas/vapour (5 pairs) 2 years $40

      Because a joinery is a very controlled environment I would expect the personal safety equipment for most other industries in NZ to be more expensive, particularly those that require specialist equipment.

      How does $5 per week for an employee who is close to minimum wage contribute to a safe workplace?

      • Dave 1.2.1

        Wonder how this will be abused in my industry, do I need to start buying my own tea towels, pans and perhaps I should bring a gas bottle as well?

  2. Blue Horseshoe 2

    Alister Crowley must be very pleased with the disciples

  3. Skinny 3

    What a disgraceful outcome after the tragic deaths at Pike River. Key and his cronies in the National Government made plenty of noise about tough new changes were coming, bringing New Zealand into line with the UK & Australia. Including stiffened workplace health & safety legislation, giving WorkSafe alot more power as the Government agency enforcer. Only for the CTU having to take a prosecution after WorkSafe decided not too. It appears the agency has dialed back as a result of National watered down intentions to beef up H & S legislation.

    Which leads on to the influence of National Party donators like the Talley’s family. Donations-Lobby or vice versa. Bingo dampened down H & S reform, and anti Union legislation. This is just wrong, the facts are clear that some of Talley’s business operations have an appalling safety record. And they are hostile towards their workforce belonging to Unions. For these reasons alone both National & Talley’s deserve to be attacked politically and in public protests.

  4. Craig H 4

    Not that it makes it right, but payments for safety gear aren’t taxable as they are reimbursements, not income.

    • keyman 4.1

      they will say its in your hourly rate a lot do it already its illegal its wages theft the bastards get alway with it by using bullying and intermediation tactics
      if people would just vote

  5. Human lives are simply a cost of doing business.

    Make loss of life (or limb) ten times more expensive to employers and you’ll see a dramatic change in safety training and equipment.

    A family member worked on a NZ oil rig. Safety precautions were enormous. Why? Each lost work day costs his employer half a million dollars.

    (Apologies to the EPMU because I don’t know how big their role was in accident prevention on this EPMU unionized rig.)

  6. NZJester 6

    I can see some employers making even more money off of this change by using this as a loophole to drop the nett wages the employee actually gets at the end of the week, while still on paper paying them minimum wage. By not having to supply the safety gear they will make the employee borrow money from them against their future wages to buy it from them at more than cost price. The employee will start off with a debt to the company and the regular need to replace that gear will make sure they stay in debt to the company.

    • tc 6.1

      Shonkey is doing exactly as his idol Muldoon did in driving the bulk of a generation away from having a future in this country.

      2 family members have had to buy their own H&S gear as their bosses simply refused to even though the work placed their health at risk without such gear.

      Ahhh the brighter future.

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