Unions oppose Talley’s move to protect workers

Fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in New Zealand yet shockingly some unions oppose drug testing in this and other dangerous industries. Would you want to work with someone who uses P? Addicts of Methamphetamine are dangerous individuals who can become unpredictable, extremely violent and manic. Imagine having someone like that on board a fishing boat at sea. You would think that workers would support their company taking precautions to protect them from co-workers on P. After all, they would be the first to complain that their employer had not ensured the safety of their workers if there was a P related accident onboard.

Testing of employees for drugs or alcohol is becoming increasingly common in New Zealand workplaces.

The main reason employers decide to test is that, depending on the type of work being performed, impairment by alcohol or drugs gives rise to a very real health and safety hazard.
Employers are required by law to take reasonable steps to protect employees and others from hazards at work – drug or alcohol testing is a reasonable step that can be taken, especially now that testing services are readily available in New Zealand.

-findlaw.co.nz

Unfortunately, New Zealand company Talley’s do not have workers as concerned about safety as they are. At least not onboard their Nelson based ship.

Crew members from a Nelson-based Talley’s ship say they feel violated after their hair was shaved to comply with company drug-testing.

More than 12 workers allegedly had their hair chopped and sent away for testing on Thursday after P was reportedly found onboard during a recent voyage, Newshub reported.

An unnamed employee who had his hair shaved has called for Talley’s to issue an apology.

“I just want my hair sample to be destroyed and a, ‘Sorry, we messed up, we didn’t actually know it wasn’t in your contracts’.

“Quite simply, I don’t want my hair test being sent to a foreign country and tested … and the fact that we were forced to undergo a hair sample test is a bit over the top,” he told Newshub.

The man said the hair samples taken from the crew were large.

“They had to take – from memory – it was one-and-a-half inches long and it had to be the same thickness as an average straw.”

Another worker said it was “implied we’d lose our jobs” if workers refused to be tested.

What is the big deal? Our son has to agree to submit to a drug test if he is successful in his latest  job application. He would have no problem having tests done throughout his working life BECAUSE HE DOESN”T TAKE DRUGS.

“A lot of us are here to just change our lives and get off the drugs. Who cares what happened three months ago?”

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However, Talley’s denied implying that employees who did not submit a hair sample would be dismissed.

General manager Tony Hazlett told Newshub the company had a “vigilant and hard line” policy about drug-use on its vessels.

“The zero stance policy on drugs is well known amongst sea-going staff and openly welcomed by most of them. Indeed we now have some senior skippers seeking more regular hair testing given the shortcomings of urine testing with P detection.”

…As well as calling police, Talley’s also searched crew members’ cabins, brought in a drug sniffer dog and interviewed employees, Newshub reported.

Talley’s Drug and Alcohol Management Procedure document from June reads: “Any other testing deemed necessary which includes but is not limited to saliva, sweat, blood or hair analysis.”

…Kirk Hardy, chief executive of Drug Detection Agency, told Newshub it was important for fishing companies to ensure employees are safe at sea.

“If something goes wrong, someone could potentially die and because they are at sea for such long periods you need something that has that long detection window.”

-A Newspaper


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