May 1st is International Workers Day. Across the globe, workers and unions will be celebrating the gains they have made to ensure they have decent pay and safer work conditions. In New Zealand, it is also the day after Newshub released leaked footage from inside the Pike River mine that was filmed three months after the explosions in November […]
After the Pike River tragedy, New Zealanders realised that workplace health and safety culture needed to change. Last Saturday marked the 6th anniversary of the tragedy that killed 29 miners at the Pike River mine on the West Coast of the South Island. Six years on, the battle to improve our health and safety continues, […]
The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses signifying the 291 people who have died at work since the Pike River mine disaster […]
At the Pike River memorial service held at our local racecourse on a hot, still day in the weeks following the disaster, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, who has often had the knack of putting his finger exactly on how our local community is feeling, referred to the Paparoa Ranges towering beside us as “our […]
The Pike River report released this week showed how little progress in health and safety New Zealand has made since the days of the Waihi mine strike. My own grandfather was a miner at Waihi. He died when my mother was small and my grandmother said that working in the mine meant long hours and […]
On Monday, in light of the Royal Commission report into Pike River, Kate Wilkinson resigned as Minister responsible for the Department of Labour. This was the right decision, given that Pike River was the most serious industrial disaster in the last fifty years, and it happened on her watch. What’s interesting is that she has […]
Health and Safety at work In the last few weeks five different companies have been convicted in District Courts in Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton, Waitakere and Christchurch for failing to keep their staff safe at work. Four workers were badly injured and one died while they were on the job. In the mining industry in the […]
For the last month New Zealand has been reduced to just one inspector of mines person after Kevin Poynter left for Australia. After questioning from Kevin Hague yesterday it turns out there a replacement has been found.
Workplaces are safer when workers and their unions feel confident to address safety issues, and this has not been helped by the National government’s industrial legislation.
I think that until now the Government has got most things right in its response to the Pike River tragedy. While they made mistakes, like excluding the workers’ union from the official party at the Memorial Service, they mostly managed an appropriate balance of compassion and prudence. Now the cracks are starting to show. The Royal Commission […]