News of WorkSafe’s confirmed organisational changes should be seen as a stark warning about the impact of cuts to public services says the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.
“It beggars belief that WorkSafe will do a better job with such a significant decrease to staffing resource,” said NZCTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges.
“This will have direct consequences for businesses and communities – a slimmed down WorkSafe means it will not be able to do the same job of keeping working people safe at work”.
“Our track record of workplace deaths and injuries is not something to be proud of. Axing 113 jobs at the health and safety regulator isn’t the right decision for the health and safety system in New Zealand.”
71 workers didn’t return home from work between June 2022 and June 2023. That represents 71 parents, children, friends and whānau members that were killed on the job in New Zealand workplaces. 71 families and communities devastated by these deaths. A further 750 – 900 workers died during this period from the impact of work-related occupational diseases such as asbestosis and cancers.
“This means that on average, one worker is being killed every week at work, and each week between 15-18 workers on average will die from health-related impacts of their work.
“It is difficult to comprehend how further slashing WorkSafe will improve this alarming picture. The data speaks for itself, more resource is needed, not less.
“Maintaining the level of inspectors is important but that is only one of WorkSafe’s core functions and their ability to be an effective inspectorate is supported by other important functions in the organisation which are now being lost.
“The NZCTU will continue to advocate for WorkSafe to be properly resourced and calls on the incoming Government to provide WorkSafe with sufficient resources to meet all its legislative functions. Failure to do this, puts working peoples’ lives at risk.
“These cuts to WorkSafe provide a bleak picture of the reality of the incoming Government’s proposed deep and savage cuts to the wider public service for working New Zealanders. It means poorer services that they, and their whānau, rely on every day.”