- Date published:
7:17 am, August 14th, 2015 - 12 comments
Categories: accountability, employment, health and safety, jobs, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: CTU, helen kelly, Mobie, national, Nigel Hampton, worksafe
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]