The Maritime Union is backing the call from Pike River family members Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse for the introduction of criminal corporate manslaughter laws.
Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the Maritime Union has supported corporate manslaughter laws in principle for a number of years.
Mr Harrison says it is unacceptable workers are dying and being injured on the job due to failure to provide safe working conditions.
“The terrible tragedy of Pike River is an indictment on how the interests of senior managers, directors and shareholders were put before the lives of workers.”
He says investigations of any corporate manslaughter cases must rest with the New Zealand Police and prosecution with Crown Prosecutors.
Mr Harrison says there have been eighteen deaths in New Zealand ports over the last ten years, as well as a substantial number of sometimes serious injuries.
He says progress has been made in health and safety in the Ports sector, including the development of an industry backed Approved Code of Practice for port operations, with the involvement of the Union.
“It is now necessary to ensure that strong laws are in place to provide an incentive for employers to ensure safe workplaces, and to send a strong message to those employers who choose to put workers in danger.”
The call for new laws comes as charges against three individuals by Worksafe resulting from the Whakaari/White Island disaster were dismissed in the Auckland District Court earlier this month.