Our plan is to get forest workers and their families talking to each other about safety and conditions of work in the industry.
We believe the issues are linked – long hours, working in bad weather, pressure to work faster and faster are all making the work too hard and people are getting tired and making mistakes.
Lots of you have told us stories of dangerous work and how you are now working harder and harder for longer and longer. Lots of you have told us that you don’t want to go to any more funerals!
Forestry is the most dangerous industry in NZ and twice and dangerous as Australia and 6 times that of the UK.
There are really 9 big forest owners and over 300 contractors working for them. These contractors are under pressure to do more for less – they are usually not the bad guys in this story! Contractors are also contacting us to express concern – they are struggling to make money, under pressure to invest in new machines, and having their bottom lines squeezed!
Forest workers are coming out from the trees and speaking out – we are meeting gangs around the country and are happy to come and talk to you and your workmates. We need to know what you know and what you want.
What is the plan?
This union is free for forest workers and their families to join. Join anyone up that is interested in making this work better and safer. Your contact details will be kept confidential!
We will turn this website into an information source for you. We will put up all the various activities, news coverage and reports we have and you can contribute your information and ideas for future activities. We will set up a blog site where you can talk to each other about issues and ideas in a confidential way.
You can refer this site to forestry workers and their families and we can use it to get a voice for the workers in this industry.
As more and more workers and their families join, we can talk about priorities for workers and contractors in the industry. The campaign is seeking three things initially:
- An inquiry into the accidents in the industry – we think the way people are being made to work is a big issue and the industry is dangerous by design (the contracting model allows forest owners to call all the shots).
- We want forest owners to agree to standard terms and conditions for all forestry workers that contractors are funded to meet – these include decent wages, hours, days off, wet weather compensation, overtime etc. If these are agreed at the owner level then everyone will get them and contractors will not be pressured to push workers too hard.
- We want workers to have access to their union without fear – if a worker wants independent advice and to work collectively with all forest workers they should be able too.
There will be lots of other things forest workers want sorted out – we can work these priorities out together.