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Panel Clears Misinformation On OSH Bill

Employer-Union Panel Clears Misinformation On OSH Bill

“The statement by the Minister of Labour’s Advisory Panel on the implementation of the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill released yesterday provide essential facts to balance misinformed political statements on the Bill,” said Ross Wilson, president of the Council of Trade Unions today.

“It is a real breakthrough that employers and unions have agreed on the public release of this statement to lift the quality of the public debate,” said Ross Wilson.

Ross Wilson said that the joint statement:

 Gives reassurance to employers that they are not going to be slammed with massive fines they cannot afford.

 Confirms the Panel’s expectation that the Bill is directed at preventing serious and debilitating work-related stress for which there is already a legal liability as the two Court reports attached to the statement confirm.

 Makes clear that the Bill will allow any person, not just unions, to take a private prosecution if OSH fails to and that this is a normal right under other legislation (but not commonly exercised because of cost).

“Those driving up opposition to the Bill for political gains have scared businesses into believing that they will be fined $500,000 for trivial matters, that unions are getting some special right to prosecute, and that there will be a new liability for any stress or fatigue experienced by employees,” he said.

“Nothing could be further from the truth and Business NZ and Federated Farmers have taken a responsible position by joining us to point this out and reassuring business.”

“The health and safety of workers is far too important to be used for political game-playing,” Ross Wilson said.

Ends

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