EPMU welcomes Pike River report

5 November, 2012

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing welcomes the Pike River Royal Commission report and is encouraging the Government to implement the changes as soon as possible.

EPMU assistant national secretary Ged O'Connell says the report should mark a turning point for mine safety in New Zealand.

"This report is a damning indictment of New Zealand's deregulated health and safety regime. Pike River Coal Ltd should never have been allowed to operate in the way it did, and in other countries it wouldn't have been allowed to.

"The report makes clear that the tragic loss of life at Pike River could have been prevented with stronger regulations, an independent and well-resourced mine safety inspectorate and genuine worker involvement in health and safety.

"We hope the failings exposed in this report spell the end of the deregulated health and safety regime of the last 20 years. This vindicates the union's repeated calls for improvements in mine safety and for the reintroduction of check inspectors."

Mr O'Connell says the union supports the Royal Commission's recommendations.

"The recommendations in this report are exactly what our union has been calling for. If implemented, they will bring New Zealand's mine safety regime up to international standards.

"We are particularly pleased so see the re-introduction of worker-elected check inspectors, a strong focus on strengthening mine safety regulations and the creation of a new Crown agency to monitor health and safety.

"We hope the Government will implement the report's recommendations as soon as possible. If the 29 men who lie in the mine are not to have died in vain then these recommendations must be implemented without delay and without reservation."

ENDS

For more information contact:

Ged O'Connell, EPMU assistant national secretary: 027 532 8152
Neale Jones, EPMU communications director: 027 276 5146