Media Release: FIRST Union
Friday 6 June, 2014
Review Panel reflects union concerns about forestry safety crisis
The union representing forestry workers feels vindicated that its concerns have been reflecting in the Public
Consultation Document released today by the Independent Forestry Safety Review.
For the last two years FIRST Union and the NZ Council of Trade Unions have highlighted the safety crisis that has been
unfolding in our forestry industry. In the previous five years the forestry industry has claimed almost thirty lives and
caused almost 1000 serious harm injuries.
FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid hopes that the Document will provide a solid foundation for forest owners,
contractors and workers to collectively address some of the industry’s problems.
“For too long injured or deceased forestry workers have glibly been described as the “architects of their own demise”.
This report demonstrates a thorough reversal of opinion.”
“The document makes clear that the problems in this industry are driven by multiple factors and not just worker
“We are pleased to see ample discussion on the problems generated by the competitive contracting model, the production
pressure that generates for contractors and the associated downward pressure on wages and conditions.”
“The combination of inadequate wages and conditions for this extremely physical work is experienced by many workers as
grinding fatigue, affecting both their mental and physical wellbeing.”
“The Panel’s discussion on worker participation and representation is critical. Without a voice in the industry this
crisis will persist and workers will continue to pay the price.”
Over the next month FIRST Union and the Council of Trade Unions will be organising workers’ meetings to discuss the
Panel’s findings and produce group submissions on those findings.
Putting Workers First
FIRST Union is New Zealand's second-largest private sector trade union.
Formed in 2011 after the merger between the National Distribution Union and Finsec, FIRST Union represents 27,000
workers in the Finance, Industrial (Textile and Wood), Retail, Stores, Transport and Logistics sectors.
FIRST Union is also affiliated to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and runs several networks including the Union
Network of Migrants, the Runanga, Fono and Womens' Committee. In 2015 FIRST Union launched Samoa First Union, Samoa's
only private sector union.
Join FIRST Union today for higher pay, better conditions and more say at work.