PM should hold corporates to account for workplace deaths
3 December 2013
PM should hold corporate sector to account for workplace deaths, not make excuses
New Zealand workers who are killed on the job deserve justice, not excuses, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.
“Nine forestry workers have died this year,” says Bill Newson, EPMU national secretary. “If the companies they worked for caused their deaths through shoddy practices, they will never be held to account, just as Pike River Coal wasn’t.”
The EPMU has consistently called for the introduction of corporate manslaughter laws, especially after the deaths of 29 men in the Pike River coal mine. Pike River Coal has gone into receivership and has not fully paid the compensation ordered to the families of the victims.
“We support the government’s work so far in improving health and safety in the workplace, but when health and safety is undermined or ignored by negligent business owners, and workers die, they should be held accountable for that negligence,” says Bill Newson.
“Last year when a 3 News poll said 74 percent of New Zealanders supported a corporate manslaughter law, the Prime Minister said it was ‘worthy of consideration’. Now a year later nine more men are dead, and he’s changed his mind. It’s a cynical backdown.”