The Council of Trade Unions is bringing 15 bereaved family members of workplace accidents to Parliament this week as opposition parties gear up to oppose the remaining stages of the health and Safety Reform Bill.
The family of Eramiha Eruera Pairama and Charles Finlay are among those arriving in Wellington today. Both men were forestry workers when they were killed in separate accidents.
The Council of Trade Unions has successfully taken private prosecutions against their respective employers, Puketi Logging, and M and A Cross Ltd.
Wives and mothers of Pike River victims will also be at Parliament.
Labour and the Greens will host a seminar on workplace safety at Parliament tomorrow night.
Parliament is due to begin its committee stages on Wednesday, the stage at which parties will try to amend the bill.
At present, a company with more than 30 employees is required to have health and safety representation and those under 30 must have one if requested by their workers.
The bill originally removed the threshold entirely but the select committee has recommended the threshold be reinstated but to 20 employees. The law will also have a schedule of high-risk businesses, which will almost certainly include forestry, in which no threshold exemption will apply.
Labour's Iain Lees-Galloway has several amendments including some which would:
• Remove the threshold of 20 and require any workplace to have a health and safety representative if requested by their workers.
• Allow a private prosecution to be brought within six months of the regulator announcing a decision not to prosecute instead of the current position which allows private prosecutions only within two years of the issue becoming known to the regulator - even if a decision by the regulator has not been made within the two years.
Speaking to the Herald at Parliament today, Eramiha Pairama's mother, Selina Eruera, said she had travelled to Wellington to support changes which would protect workers.
Aged 19, her son was the youngest person to die in the forestry industry when he was struck by a tree at a logging site near Whakatane in 2013.
Mrs Eruera said forestry was not the only high-risk industry in this country.
"I have a few whanau that work in fishing and a few whanau on farms -- those are also dangerous in their own way."