Andrew Little and EPMU seriously criticised by the Left

From the The Owl

We all wish and hope that bodies can be recovered or at least closure is gained for the families of the Pike River mine.

A number of editorials and opinion writers for MSM have suggested as soon as the report into the Pike River tragedy was released the “blame game” would begin.

Having read as many reports as possible it is the left wing blogger Steve Cowan with his article on “Against the Current” which is absolutely superb.

The parties involved have all put their hands up and in lay men’s terms have said “we have had a part to play in the disaster”. Prime Minister John Key, Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson, David Shearer on behalf of previous Labour Governments and the list goes on.

However as Steve Cowan writes, the EPMU had a golden opportunity under Andrew Little’s leadership to raise concerns about the mine and health and safety within the mining industry. If his analysis is right and it is a very well researched piece he squarely puts part of the blame on “modern unionism”.

The focus must remain on the findings on the report, implementation of measures suggested without political tinkering and closure for the Pike River families. Accordingly Steve Cowan suggests that the EPMU, Andrew Little and Damian O’Connor should also look very seriously at their roles.

Observation by the Owl

For the followers of the Owl my mandate is to always apologise if what I have written is wrong.

Sometimes that takes guts and Steve Cowan piece has really got me thinking.

The words “modern unionism” means what? I don’t know what that means but what I do know is that people within the union have used their unions to build profiles and enter such domains as parliament.

The 20% voting shifty pulled by the Unions for the future appointment of any Labour Leader shows again how agendas can destroy institutions.

New Zealand needs strong governments and equally needs strong opposition – we can all handle a good debate but leadership on either side of the house also needs to exercise “humility”. Empathy for others.

As I heard recently on a radio show when the talk back hosts was criticising the 7% unemployment rate, the astute co-host said – that’s great 93% are employed in New Zealand.

Andrew Little comment in parliament this week when he said that “there was no business leadership in this country” reminded me how much our politicians are out of touch with reality.

Every morning, hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders wake up each day and go open their workshops, businesses and work on innovations and design to satisfy their needs of their workers, clients and families – not to satisfy unions or politicians.

Steve Cowan, the unions didn’t kill the workers, nor did the government – a whole lot of personal and ideological agendas did over a very long time.

  • http://twitter.com/Inventory2 Inventory2

    This is an amazing piece by Steven Cowan. The EPMU were lambs before and immediately after Pike River’s explosion, but have found their voice in the wake of the Royal Commission’s report. 20/20 hindsight is all very well, but the EPMU most certainly lacked 20/20 foresight.

  • http://twitter.com/aginnz Andrew Garner

    Interestingly, Damien O’Connor now wishes ‘he had done something’ back in the 1990’s when he was warned about mine safety….

    • Mediaan

      Saw that on The Nation. He must have been reading Owl, and thought he had better get in quick with an apology.

  • G Taylor

    RE: ANDREW LITTLE MP – At Pike River, Miners union (EPMU and forerunner) failed in representing workers industrial health and safety interests – with pay and benefits the most basic of workers welfare interests – (which of course includes monitoring performance by Dept. Labour of mining safety responsibilities). Basically this is the fault of trade union membership who have permitted a takeover of their union (and trade unions generally) by people from the urban educated liberal elite who see themselves more as part of the “labour movement” than as trade union activists. This description appears to fit Andrew Little, miners union/EPMU Little General Secretary for 11 years until recently – 2011 election Labour candidate for New Plymouth (and perhaps also predecessor Rex Jones) during which 11 years the rot set into mining safety – following the destruction of regulation by previous National Governments (left unremedied). Both Jones and Little found time to be President of the NZ Labour Party at the same time as being EPMU General Secretary. Mr Little apparently wasn’t likely to robustly challenge the industrial safety policy failures of Labour Government Ministers of Labour and dereliction of public duty by Dept.of Labour chiefs.

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