21 October 2005
King Kong set doesn't need to be unsafe
"Film sets in New Zealand don't need to be unsafe" said Ross Wilson, President of the Council of Trade Unions this morning. He was responding to a report of significant unsafe practices on Peter Jackson's King Kong set in Wellington, in this morning's Dominion Post newspaper.
"The practices on the set of King Kong were clearly unacceptable," said Ross Wilson. "New Zealanders need to stop viewing Peter Jackson through rose tinted spectacles, and see the reality that this is a business where safety comes last for cost reasons. This is an American owned production company organising the work in New Zealand, and the company and Jackson need to take proactive steps to ensure the safety of the workers on their set."
"This doesn't need to be confrontational - we are just asking that Jackson move away from his anti union approach and respect employees' right to organise around safety in their workplace," said Ross Wilson.
"The union led health and safety workplace reps system has had a significant impact on safety at work - with a 60% reduction in workplace fatalities in the 2 years it has been operational. Workers in the film industry need to recognise the value of organising collectively as real unions to improve their conditions at work - and film set management should listen seriously to them," said Ross Wilson.