Strongest Worker Support Since Employment Relations Act
“The thousands of worker submissions delivered by union members to Parliament shows the depth of support for stronger workplace health and safety law,” said Ross Wilson, Council of Trade Unions president today.
Nearly 6,000 submissions were handed over to Labour MP Rick Barker at lunchtime today on Parliament steps in boxes, bags and an ambulance stretcher carried by finance workers.
“This is easily the greatest number of workers’ submissions supporting a new law since workers supported the Employment Relations Bill,’ Ross Wilson said.
“It shows that workers have had enough of our shocking toll of workplace deaths, injuries, illness, stress and fatigue.”
Union members today planted 500 crosses on Parliament’s lawn, representing the 500 work-related deaths in New Zealand annually.
In Auckland, at the construction site scene of the death of labourer Terua Tearoa, union members also held an event focussed around 500 crosses.
Ross Wilson said that 500 was a very conservative estimate. It included traumatic workplace deaths, and deaths following injury and illness caused by work.
It also includes a small proportion of road fatalities reflecting OSH and ACC research showing that a proportion of road fatalities are caused by worker fatigue.
“Some politicians and employer representatives have tried to minimise the number of work-related deaths,” said Ross Wilson.
“That is an insult to the bereaved families and workmates of all the New Zealanders behind the statistics.”