April 29, 2013
Deregulation killing Maori foresters
The head of the Council of Trade Unions says safety conditions for the largely Māori forestry workforce are getting worse, not better.
Helen Kelly took part in a service yesterday for Workers' Memorial Day, marking those who have been killed or injured in the workplace.
She says forestry has become particularly dangerous over the two decades since deregulation, with individual fellers expected to fill up to seven logging trucks a day, compared with four 20 years ago.
“Obviously we’ve just seen this deterioration and these guys used to be all in the forest service, used to be unionised, used to have collective agreements and used to have health and safety reps. In 1966, when they were cutting down native forest which was very dangerous, there were 88 per 1000. Now there is 123 deaths per 1000 and the trees are planted for felling. So there is something dramatically wrong here,” she says.
Helen Kelly says there needs to be an inquiry into workplace conditions in the forestry industry.
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