The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) is remembering the loss of 51 people who lost their lives at work in the past year. April 28 is Workers Memorial Day; an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed at work. The CTU believes Workers Memorial Day is an opportunity for reflection and commitment to change.
“Last year 51 New Zealanders died at work. It’s all too easy to think of these tragic deaths as just another number; another empty statistic rather than someone loved, someone who was an important part of a community. Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, loved members of family fabric. 11 of the 51 workers who died at work were forestry workers, this makes forestry the most dangerous industry to work in.” Kelly said.
“On Sunday over 100 family members of forestry workers killed at work, are attending a memorial service. On Monday we shake buckets on street corners to raise money for a new Workers Memorial Fund which will fund legal support, advice, advocacy and representation to victims’ families when their loved one is killed at work. And at lunchtime we will silently process through Wellington streets, starting at the Railway Station at noon, to remember those who died at work. Our procession will end at Parliament – a place which has the power to make things safer at work.” CTU President Helen Kelly said.
“We need safer workplaces with workers, employers, and politicians working together to ensure that the right regulations and practices are in place. We need a Minister of Labour who is committed to safety at work. The current Minister, Simon Bridges, has too often shown that he cares more about helping companies increase profit margins than he does about saving lives.” Kelly said.
“As a society we believe that no worker should die doing their job. In no industry should the risks be so great and the safeguards so lacking, that workers are regularly harmed. Regardless of whether you work in an office or in the forest there should be no question that you’ll be able to finish your work day alive.” Kelly said.
Worksafe data on workplace fatalities:http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/research/health-and-safety-data/summary-of-fatalities-2007-2013
For further comment, please contact:
Helen Kelly, President, CTU
Huia Welton, Campaigns & Communications Adviser 021 524 502