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EPMU welcomes Royal Commission of Inquiry

28 November, 2010 -- News Release

EPMU welcomes Royal Commission of Inquiry into Pike River mine disaster

The Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union (EPMU) today welcomed the Prime Minister’s proposal to make the Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River mine disaster a Royal Commission.

“When the union was consulted on the matter last week we told the Prime Minister we wanted there to be an inquiry at the highest level and that this required a Royal Commission of Inquiry,” says EPMU national secretary Andrew Little .

“This is a huge disaster by any account and what we do in response will be scrutinised around the world, especially in the other Commonwealth countries whose nationals were among those killed.”

“Given the nature of the inquiry the EPMU believes it will need to include a senior New Zealand judge, an international coal mine safety expert, and a panel member who is an authority on health and safety from a workers’ perspective.”

“The Inquiry should also enable the bereaved families to attend proceedings and be represented.”

“As the trade union representing underground miners at Pike River and all other underground mines in New Zealand, the EPMU has started to assemble an international team of legal and technical experts and will do all it can to assist the inquiry.”

“The scope of the inquiry needs to include the specific causes that led up to the fatal explosions in the mine, the subsequent rescue and recovery operations, and the broader safety and regulation of underground mining in New Zealand."

“The families of the 29 men killed and the wider mining community on the West Coast deserve nothing less.”

“The Commission will need to make recommendations to the government on the future of the mine, including its safe operation if it resumes production following this tragedy.”

Ends

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