Christchurch vigil protests safety reform

The Health and Safety Reform Bill passed its second reading in July (3 News)
The Health and Safety Reform Bill passed its second reading in July (3 News)

A union has held a silent vigil in Christchurch to highlight concerns over the Government's workplace safety reforms. 

Around 300 crosses were erected on the old Crown Plaza site at Durham St and Kilmore St in the central city this afternoon to represent those who've lost their lives in workplace accidents since 2010. 

Lyttelton Port workers are among those who gathered to remember Brad Fletcher, 40, a port worker, community leader and volunteer firefighter who died when the scissor lift he was operating toppled over last year.

Andrew Kelly, former workmate and Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) Lyttelton branch president, put down one of the 291 crosses today to remember his friend.

He was off shift when he got a call saying Mr Fletcher had been killed, and says the news was "shattering".

"It's really hard to lose someone, but it's not just me that's lost someone," he says. "I think things need to change. I think we need to get back to looking after people, it's the people who important."

Local Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) organiser Jo McLean says the event was organised by locals, including Pike River families, to highlight their belief that the Government's recent safety reforms were inadequate.

The Health and Safety Reform Bill passed its second reading in July and proposed changes include the removal of worker-elected health and safety representatives for some small businesses.

"The Government's proposed health and safety changes are a watered-down version

of reforms Prime Minister John Key promised in the wake of the Pike River Mine disaster," says Ms McLean.

3 News / RadioLIVE