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Incorrect drugs stats concern unions

October 13, 2003

Media Release

Incorrect drugs stats concern unions

The unions challenging Air New Zealand’s plans to implement drug and alcohol testing on its workforce are concerned that evidence given in the Employment Court last week appears to be incorrect and has created a false impression with the public.

A scientist from the government’s Institute of Environmental Sciences and Research (ESR) provided the court with evidence that 22 per cent of workers randomly tested had returned positive tests. This evidence was reported extensively in the media today.

However, ESR’s manager of workplace testing, Shelly Turner, this morning told Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme that this figure was incorrect.

The correct information was that 22 per cent of ESR’s clients had random drugs-testing in place, she said. Of the workers tested at these companies, nine per cent returned positive tests.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that whilst the unions accept that this was an unintentional error, as apparently acknowledged by ESR, they wanted to ensure that the mistake was remedied in the media, and the Employment Court formally advised that the evidence was incorrect.

The correct statistics should also be made known to the court, he said.

Ends

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