Drop politics and pass workplace law - Opposition

  • 19/08/2015
Drop politics and pass workplace law - Opposition

By 3 News online staff

Opposition parties are urging the Government to put politics aside and pass the Health and Safety Bill which is in the interest of all workers.

The Bill was meant to go before the House yesterday, but Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said there were a few "technical matters" with support parties to get the backing for the reform.

It is meant to go into the House today, which is last chance to make substantial changes to the Bill.

But Labour leader Andrew Little has called on the Maori Party and United Future to drop the politics.

"This isn't any kind of law to be horse-trading on. This is all about the lives of our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives and it must be above any individual interests.

"If the Bill returns to Parliament today, we must live up to the promises made in the Royal Commission after the tragic deaths of 29 men at Pike River. This law isn’t about the numbers. It is about protecting every person who goes to work to make sure they make it home again that night."

Fifteen family members of those who died at Pike River were at Parliament yesterday, hoping the legislation would make it before the politicians in the House.

Green Party workplace relations and safety spokeswoman Denise Roche says the proposed reforms are the "last chance" for the Government to show it is committed to the cause.

"Today the Government has the opportunity to make amends by supporting opposition amendments that will ensure workers are safer in the workplace."

"I'm urging [government support parties] to show that commitment by voting for our amendments to strengthen the Bill, rather than being hostage to the National Party’s right wing rump that instigated the watering down of the original Health and Safety Reform Bill

Labour has proposed scrapping the exemption for employers with fewer than 20 employees from establishing health and safety committees.

The Greens have also made proposals for change which include enabling health and safety representative to cover a whole workplace, not just workgroups decided by an employer.

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