Maritime Union welcomes charges against Ports of Auckland following 2020 death

The Maritime Union has welcomed the announcement of charges against Ports of Auckland (POAL) following the 2020 death of a worker at the Ports.

Mr Pala’amo (Amo) Kalati was killed on 30 August 2020 after being crushed when a container was dropped during a lifting operation on the night shift.

31-year old Mr Kalati was a father of seven and had only been working at the Ports for a short time.

The charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 have been filed by Government agency Maritime New Zealand at the Auckland District Court and a court date has not been set.

Both the Ports of Auckland and an individual have been charged but the identity of the individual is not yet known.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the charges follow an independent health and safety review at the Ports of Auckland commissioned by the owners of the port, Auckland City.

That review found systemic problems around the health and safety management culture at the Ports.

Mr Harrison says the case will be a test for the Ports of Auckland and had major implications for all New Zealand workers.

“This can never happen again.”

The former chair of the POAL Board Liz Coutts and the former CEO of POAL Tony Gibson have both resigned since the 2020 death of Mr Kalati.

On Friday 4 December 2020, POAL was sentenced for their role in the death of another young employee in 2018 and fined over half a million dollars.

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