Quality Bakers

Why do unions oppose drug testing? Don’t they care for safety?

The unions usually bang on about workplace safety. And they have a point mostly.

No one wants people to go to work and be put at risk of serious injury or worse.

Yet we constantly see unions opposing drug testing. Why?

A union has criticised plans to drug test workers for kava as discriminatory – but the company involved has categorically denied the claim.

In a statement yesterday, the First Union said Goodman Fielder’s employees at the Quality Bakers site in Dunedin would be subject to testing for kava.

However, both the company and the Drug Detection Agency, which Goodman Fielder has contracted to carry out drug testing, have denied workers would be tested for kava.

The union is standing by its claim, and says such testing would be discriminatory,

“Classing kava as a drug will have a racist impact. It effectively means targeting Pasifika people,” First Union organiser Jerome Mika said.

The roots of the kava plant are used to produce a drink which has a sedative effect. It is used throughout the Pacific and is known as ‘ava in Samoa and ‘awa in Hawaii.

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