Tuesday 10 January, 2017
Trade union movement mourns the loss of Joe Harawira QSM
The trade union movement is mourning the loss of Joe Harawira (Ngāti Awa, Ngai te Rangi), the co-ordinator for Sawmill Workers Against Poison (SWAP) and a champion for working people.
Mr Harawira fought a decades-long battle on behalf of former sawmill workers who were exposed to dangerous chemicals on the job.
“Joe was a working man through and through,” said Council of Trade Unions Vice-President Māori Syd Keepa.
“He worked day in and day out for sawmill workers who were exposed to dangerous chemicals on the job. Joe and the team at SWAP helped rip the lid off one of the worst workplace disasters in New Zealand history.”
“Joe was one of our best and he leaves an immense legacy. His tireless campaigning saw the Government commit to providing free health support for former sawmill workers who were exposed to dangerous chemicals on the job. His campaigning and networking saw local councils commit to cleaning up the toxic sites where the chemicals were dumped,” said Keepa.
“Joe’s journey took him from the Whakatane board mill all the way to Parliament. Joe was hugely respected wherever he went. The trade union movement is in mourning today.”