November 19 marks the 10th anniversary of Pike River Mine disaster when 29 men were killed at work in the mine. No no-one has ever been held to account for the deaths.
“Ten years on from Pike – a preventable workplace catastrophe – things have changed, improvements have been made, but there is so much more to do in order to keep working people safe at work. Our position remains; that everyone regardless of occupation or industry should have confidence that they can return home to loved ones at the end of the working day,” CTU President Richard Wagstaff said.
“In the past year there have been 95 workplace deaths, 95 people who didn’t survive work. We must do better when it comes to health and safety. Because in doing better we respect people more, we value lives more, and we honour those who have been killed at work.”
“Following the tragedy, both the Pike River Royal Commission, and the Independent Taskforce on Health and Safety specifically identified how health and safety in Aotearoa/New Zealand could and should be improved. We need to continue to build on those foundations. Working people need the Government to take action in the following ways –
1. Make WorkSafe work. Our H&S Regulator established following Pike, we want to make WorkSafe more effective, this could be achieved through – increasing funding and making sure that WorkSafe enforces and prosecutes more unsafe employers, including spot fines for bad behaviour.
2.Improving the law to provide for trained health and safety representatives in every workplace.
3. Improve the law to better protect people’s mental health at work including workplace stress, bullying and the damage it does to emotional and psychological health.
4, Review the Health and Safety at Work Act – ensuring that the review focuses on working people’s real experiences, and puts the most weight on what they need to be safe at work. Then implement the changes that review suggests before the 2023 election.
“Today we remember the 29 men who were killed at Pike, we send messages of strength and solidarity to their loved ones. We remain hopeful that the drift re-entry and police investigation could result in accountability. We remain resolute in our determination to fight for the right of working people to come home safe every single day,” Wagstaff said.