21 February 2013
CTU pays tribute to the people of Canterbury
On the eve of the 2nd anniversary of the 2011 earthquake, Paul Watson, Council of Trade Unions Canterbury Rebuild and Recovery Co-ordinator, says the union movement pays tribute to the people of Canterbury and remembers all the people who lost their lives on that fateful day.
Paul Watson says, "we are especially mindful of the 115 people who were visiting and working in the CTV building who lost their lives. As building reconstruction starts in Canterbury, we owe it to the memory of these people and their loved ones to ensure that buildings are safe and secure for workers and people using them".
The Commission of Enquiry into the CTV building heard harrowing evidence of the catastrophic consequences of hurried design and inadequate construction processes.
"As a community we must be committed to a zero tolerance position on poor design and construction techniques" says Paul Watson.
"It's time to prioritise workers safety and general wellbeing and the CTU wants to work with employers to develop charters and standards on health and safety and employment practices across all reconstruction activities".
"We also have to be committed to maximum employment opportunities in Canterbury and the skills and training development and apprenticeship programmes need to be increased as the rebuild intensifies. There should not be unemployment or underemployment in Canterbury given the economic benefits and job opportunities as the city recovers and rebuilds. The $30 billion of economic activity that is forecast for Canterbury over the next two to three decades is an opportunity to ensure that workers are employed in safe, decently paid and secure employment.
Paul Watson said many workers lost jobs as a result of the February 2011 earthquake. For example, over 11,000 women lost jobs in the service and hospitality sector in the Christchurch CBD. Many of these workers are still out of work.
"We have a golden opportunity to develop an employment environment in Canterbury that provides good remuneration, quality training and job security. The last thing we need is a workforce that is highly casualised, poorly paid and dissatisfied. We think that engagement of off-shore labour should only be used when local sources are exhausted".
It's time to back Christchurch workers in every way. Housing unaffordability and poorly thought out and rushed school closures are not what Canterbury workers and their families need or can manage.