Archive for the ‘Workplace injuries and deaths’ Category

Regina Elsea and her fiance

by The Spark

Regina Elsea was killed last year when the robot she was trying to repair suddenly moved and crushed her. She was working for Ajin USA, a car parts company, earning $8.50 an hour.

Chambers County, where the company was located, offered tax breaks and other financial aid to companies to locate there. Encouraged by such free taxpayer-backed money, car companies, with their high-tech robots and technologies, started to move to the region. People were hired, but most of the wages remained very low. In addition, much of the work was supplied through staffing agencies and was temporary.

Elsea was not an Ajin employee. She was employed through a (more…)

unnamedby Don Franks

(dedicated with respect to Pike River miners and their families)

On Mayday, get your old flag out
unwrap each dusty fold
pour the cold beer, find some young ear
to hear your stories told
how we used to put a blue on
downloadhow we boxed the place up tight
saw the scabs off, held the picket line
stood tall through all the shite
just remember while you party on
until the (more…)

Faulty trucks at Otahuhu Fire Service workshop

Faulty trucks at Otahuhu Fire Service workshop

by Susanne Kemp

Auckland firefighters have blacked an entire fleet of Fraser-MAN fire trucks.  The union ban on the trucks follows months of disquiet over the trucks.

Back in August last year, for instance, the union began trying to resolve issues related to these trucks.  Auckland firefighters were forced to black an appliance due to safety concerns.  The Auckland City fire truck carrying the life-saving “jaws of life” rescue equipment was found to be faulty and had to be taken off the road.

In October a AGM of Auckland firefighters expressed frustration and anger over the pumping and  pump-rescue appliances on these trucks.  At the time, the Auckland local of the union produced a comprehensive account of the problems with the trucks and rebuttal of the stalling and arse-covering antics of fleet management at national headquarters.

The Auckland local noted, among other things, “A proper trial involving a few prototypes would likely have avoided the current situation, a situation where $20 million of levy payers’ money has been wasted on a fleet of lemons with irretrievably bad DNA. A situation where vehicles less than six months old are literally coming apart at the seams (Christchurch). Where vehicles have had their wiring interfered with to the point where they won’t start when called upon to respond. Where pumps will not (more…)

Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse still fighting for justice; photo: Joanne Carroll/Fairfax NZ

Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse still fighting for justice; photo: Joanne Carroll/Fairfax NZ

by Susanne Kemp

On Saturday morning, members and supporters of the families of a number of the Pike River workers who lost their lives in the November 2010 explosions at the mine began a picket outside the mine.  Led by Sonja Rockhouse, who lost a son, and Anna Osborne, who lost a husband, the group have been protesting the decision of the mine company, state-owned Solid Energy, to permanently seal off the mine, leaving the remains of the 29 dead workers in the mine forever.

The company’s decision has been made despite the fact that there is (more…)

pb57793-300x459Our latest meeting took place at the weekend and we were privileged to be joined by John Smith, author of Imperialism in the 21st Century, one of the three books we’re studying.  We were also joined by his associate Andy Higginbottom.

John gave a presentation on several key themes of the book, which led into a discussion on the size, scale and weight of the working class in the Third World compared to the First World, where this leaves the working class (and the anti-capitalist left) in the First World, the issue of monopoly and how it does or does not relate to imperialist super-profits and much more.

Indeed, the meeting went on over several hours.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will get John’s introduction to the study meeting up on Redline, along with some articles that summarise the chapters of his book.

Our next meeting will be taking place in late November.

The interview below is with Paul Embery, working firefighter and regional secretary of the Fire Brigades Union in the London region.  He was also national organiser of Trade Unionists Against the EU in the lead-up to the recent Brexit referendum.

This interview is from 2014 about a particular strike over specific issues at that time – in particular the attempts of the Cameron government to change firefighters’ conditions around pension/retirement especially.

The interview is relevant to firefighters in New Zealand:

"What do we want? A fair deal. When do we want it? Now!" more than 1000 firefighters chanted as they marched through the streets of Melbourne on December 8 last year;

“What do we want? A fair deal. When do we want it? Now!” more than 1000 firefighters chanted as they marched through the streets of Melbourne on December 8 last year

by Susanne Kemp

Given that firefighters risk their lives for not exactly a lot of pay, you’d think that any half-decent government anywhere might be vitally concerned to ensure they have the best conditions possible as workers and their pay reflects both their skills and the danger of their jobs.  Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

Across the ditch in Victoria, for instance, instead of facilitating the firefighters in doing their job, the state government last year launched a massive assault on pay, conditions and the firefighters’ union itself.  This assault was fronted by ‘socialist-feminist’ Emergency Services minister Jane Garrett.  Garrett used feminist rhetoric – she’s also a member of the phony ‘Socialist Left’ faction in the Victorian ALP (Labor Party) – to attack the firefighters union.  When she got booed by fireifghters, for instance, she accused them of “bullying”.  More seriously, she was utterly backing the CFA (Country Fire Authority) and doing her damnedest to bring the union down.  On June 9, however, the firefighters scored a small victory as she was forced to resign.

On the pay front, the firefighters haven’t had an increase since  (more…)