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

 

Fight Against Workplace Deaths

Collective Bargaining Vital in Fight Against Workplace Deaths

Strengthening workers’ ability to bargain collectively will reduce workplace fatalities and improve this country’s dismal health and safety record, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.

Speaking to around 300 delegates at the first day of the CTU conference in Wellington, Ross Wilson said that for the second year in a row the Occupational Safety and Health Service had investigated 73 fatal workplace accidents.

He blamed the toll on the combined effect of the Employment Contracts Act, in limiting union access to workplaces, and the lack of mandatory worker participation in health and safety systems under the previous law.

“Workers were not involved enough in occupational safety and health, so were less aware of the issues,” he said. “Union representation was weakened and there was little bargaining around health and safety issues.”

Poor work practices such as competitive tendering, outsourcing of dangerous tasks, work overload and long working hours have added to the danger.

The new Health and Safety in Employment Act, which requires workplace health and safety representatives, and the Employment Relations Act will help to reduce workplace accidents, Ross Wilson said.

“Unions want the ERA amended so it does not merely allow collective bargaining, but actively promotes it,” Ross Wilson said.

Ross Wilson said the new laws presented the union movement with challenges.

“We must change the perception that health and safety is a specialist area which must be left to a few people who – it is said – have a sort of obsessive interest in it,” he said. “Workers care about their health and safety and their families certainly care about whether they come home at night. It concerns everyone.”

Unions also needed to make sure that health and safety was a key issue in bargaining with employers, Ross Wilson said.

“Thirdly, there is the challenge to make the fundamental link between unsafe systems of work which cause accidents and occupational diseases, and the potential for collective bargaining to improve those systems of work.

“Just as the laws and practices of the 1980s and 1990s allowed the deterioration of systems of work, so can the rights that we have under the ERA and the HSE Act assist us to rebuild safe systems and conditions of work,” Ross Wilson said.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Welcoming The Major Health Reforms

Usually “reform” of government agencies is a cost cutting exercise in disguise, but this morning’s revision of the health system looks totally different. These reforms amount to the biggest shake-up of the health system since the neo-liberal reforms of the early 1990s, which have now been completely reversed. Good. The main ingredients announced by Health Minister Andrew Little this morning have included the setting up of a new and truly independent Maori Health Authority... More>>

 

NZ & Globe: Leaders’ Summit On Climate To Raise Ambition On Climate Action

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined President Biden at the virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate hosted by the United States overnight. The summit, held for Earth Day, brought world leaders together to galvanise efforts to reduce emissions this decade ... More>>

ALSO:

The Conversation: If We Want To Improve NZ’s Freshwater Quality, First We Need To Improve The Quality Of Our Democracy
Since the fatal Havelock North campylobacter outbreak in 2016, freshwater quality has rightfully been a major political issue in Aotearoa New Zealand... More>>

Government: Major Reforms Will Make Healthcare Accessible For All NZers

Putting a greater emphasis on primary healthcare and ensuring fairer access for all New Zealanders are two of the main drivers of health sector reforms announced today by Health Minister Andrew Little. “We are going to put the emphasis squarely ... More>>

ALSO:


Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>

ALSO:

PM Ardern And PM Morrison: Commencement Of Two-Way Quarantine-Free Travel Between Australia And New Zealand

Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern Commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand Today, Australia and New Zealand have fulfilled their commitment to establish two-way quarantine free ... More>>

Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels