Mill workers mourn fallen workmate
Workers at the Pacific Steel mill in Auckland are today mourning the death of union delegate Danny Campbell.
Mr Campbell, aged 47, died at 10 past 11 last night from injuries sustained in an accident at the mill on November 4.
Work at the mill stopped last night after workers were informed of Mr Campbell’s death. A service and tapu-lifting ceremony was held at the site this morning, then workers decided to return to work.
Workmate and friend Maurice Waetford described Mr Campbell as a natural leader whose presence was deeply missed at the site.
“Another big tree has fallen,” he said. “He was a big man with a big heart who played a big role at the mill. He had mana, he was a great father and a natural leader. He was inspirational.”
Mr Campbell had worked at the mill since 1973.
“I started the month before him,” Mr Waetford said. “He was a steelworker, handling hot steel. It’s a dangerous job, but you couldn’t find anyone as safety conscious as Danny. That he should have been taken in this way has truly shaken the workforce.”
Mr Campbell received serious injuries when he fell while disposing of waste steel. Both his union, the EPMU, and the Labour Department are investigating his death – the second fatal incident on the site this year.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little today extended the union’s deepest sympathy to Mr Campbell’s family.
“Danny’s death is a tragedy for his family, his workmates and his fellow union members,” Mr Little said.
“While we don’t yet know what caused him to fall, we are working with the company on doing everything possible to make sure that it never happens again.”
Mr Campbell, of Ngati Porou, leaves behind a wife and four adult children. He was a keen sportsman, following rugby, rugby league and horse racing, and served in the Navy before starting work at Pacific Steel.
A private funeral service is being arranged.