Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

New forestry standards show nothing learned from Pike River


Wednesday December 5, 2012

New forestry standards show nothing learned from Pike River

The launch of new forestry standards today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MoBIE) show the department has learned nothing from the tragedy of Pike River and continues to provide weak leadership in the area of Health and Safety, the Council of Trade Unions said today.

“The standards were developed without any worker participation and by the very organisations in the forest industry that already show they have no understanding of the seriousness of the ongoing health and safety issues in the sector,” CTU president Helen Kelly said.

“The repeated claims by employers and owners that the industry is safe show they have no intention of improving.”

“Last week saw another worker killed and one seriously injured. That’s 13 in three years, as well at least 5 logging truck deaths since Christmas (not all drivers).

Helen Kelly said the CTU has considerable concerns with the standards including:
• No provisions for employee participation (despite this being a key recommendation in the Pike River Report).
• Weak provisions around vehicles (for example no requirement for seatbelts)
• Risk shifting to employees (for example stating that workers can refuse unsafe work but requiring them to work it out with their employer first rather than stating reciprocal obligations e.g. employers have an obligation to stop, listen and respond).

The CTU also has a major objection to the silence in the standards relating to employment rights and the obligations of employers to have fair employment agreements, Helen Kelly said.

“We believe working conditions in the industry are a major contributor to the accident levels including long hours and fatigue.

“On this matter the standards put the onus on the workers to manage fatigue, requiring employers only to provide ‘regular rest breaks, a meal break, a daily or nightly sleep period and shared driver responsibilities’. How this can be seen as best practice is unbelievable,” Helen Kelly said.

“The standards are very similar to the previous standards which were launched with great fanfare and have continued to fail workers in the industry.

“By promulgating these standards today, the Ministry is making itself complicit in the continued risk of workers in the forest industry,” Helen Kelly said.

Ends.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The EU’s Beef With Google

There’s every indication that Google would be on a losing wicket if it chooses to fight the European Union competition watchdogs, who have just levied a $3.3 billion fine on the firm – with the prospect of worse to come if Google doesn’t quickly change the anti-competitive practices at the heart of a court battle that’s been seven years in the making.

Essentially, the case involved Google’s alleged abuse of the stranglehold it enjoys on the online advertising associated with its search activities. More>>

 
 

Legislation: Point England Housing Bill Passed

The passage of the Point England Development Enabling Bill through Parliament this evening will benefit Auckland with additional housing, help resolve Ngāti Paoa’s Treaty claim and improve the local environment and recreation facilities, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says. More>>

ALSO:

Cyberducation: Digital Curriculum Launch And Funding Package

Consultation on new digital technologies content for the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the Māori-medium Curriculum, was launched today by Education Minister Nikki Kaye. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Red Socks And Secret Tapes

Prime Minister Bill English began his post-cabinet press conference by explaining how well the National Party's annual conference went. He also mentioned today's announcement of changes to the EQC disaster insurance legislation and wished Emirates Team New Zealand well in the America's Cup. More>>

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government More Open

International surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>

In Court: Hamilton Student's Lawsuit Over Climate Change Policy

A law student from Hamilton is preparing to challenge the Government in the High Court on Monday over what she says is a “failure” to properly address climate change. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement. As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog