Action on Asbestos

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					      Issue 4. September 23, 2004


Action on Asbestos
              The CTU goes to Government on behalf of asbestos victims

The Council of Trade Unions will fight on behalf of          ill, or from the date of treatment which is then deemed to
asbestos victims to ensure that they get fair                be the date of injury for ACC purposes.
compensation under ACC.
                                                             CTU president Ross Wilson says if ACC succeeds in its
The initiative comes after ACC announced it is appealing     appeal in the Lehmann case to deny asbestos victims of
a district court decision confirming asbestos disease        lump sum compensation, the ACC scheme would not
victims are entitled to lump sum compensation, and an        meet the international minimum standards required by
inquiry into Australian building products firm James         International Labour Organisation Convention No. 42.
Hardie Industries raised serious questions about the         This convention requires victims of occupational disease
adequacy of compensation under ACC.                          to receive the same compensation as accident victims.

James Hardie may face criminal charges in Australia          ACC would become nothing more than a shield to protect
after a Government inquiry there found it broke the law      companies like James Hardie from common law liability
by saying it had enough money in a fund to compensate        for damages, he says. The CTU has also pointed out that
thousands of asbestos victims.                               the mean level of awards ($245,000) in the NSW Dust
                                                             Diseases Tribunal raises serious questions about the
The inquiry said the company should have set aside up        adequacy of current compensation under ACC.
to A$2.2 billion (NZ$2.33 billion) in a compensation fund
– that is seven times the A$293 million that was actually    The ACC Minister Ruth Dyson has said that the
saved in a fund created in 2001. This money will run out                                                s
                                                             Government is waiting for the result of ACC’ appeal.
by 2006 and is not enough to compensate the workers
affected by asbestos which causes the fatal lung disease     Meanwhile, the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing
mesothelioma.                                                Union is calling for former asbestos factory workers or
                                                             their families to come forward as they may be entitled to a
Workers across Australia have downed tools and rallied       payout. A 1987 contract between James Hardie and two
against James Hardie, calling on it to fully fund            unions – the Auckland Asbestos Workers Union and the
compensation claims.                                         Engineers Union (both now under the EPMU) gave
                                                             workers or their families the right to claim more than
The issue of liability by companies like James Hardie        $30,000 compensation if they became sick or died from
doesn’ apply in New Zealand where compensation for
        t                                                    asbestos exposure. The Penrose factory made asbestos
injury and occupational disease has been covered by          products from around the 1940s to the late 1980s. The
ACC for the past 30 years.                                   contract had been overlooked when the two unions
                                                             amalgamated, but now the EMPU is calling for former
But ACC is appealing against a Wellington District Court     employees who are sick from exposure to asbestos, or
decision awarding $100,000 to the estate of an Auckland      their surviving spouses or children, to come forward. The
man, Ross Lehmann, who died last year of asbestos-           union says it will provide legal resources to pursue the
related lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos in       compensation offered in the contract.
1960. The corporation has agreed to pay the lump sum,
but has said it wants clarification of the law in the High   And in another case, a New Zealand man with asbestos-
Court. If ACC succeeds in its appeal, Mr Lehmann’     s      related lung disease is suing James Hardie in Australia as
widow, Dawn, will have to pay the money back.                the supplier of asbestos products. Reports say the man
                                                             had been exposed to asbestos while working in Kawerau
The district court decision was the first lump-sum award     and Kinleith in the 1960s. He moved to Australia and
for asbestos victims diagnosed after April 1, 2002. ACC      became sick in the 1990s. The case is a test case which
wanted to pay lump sums only to workers who continue         could affect hundreds of employees who worked in timber
to be exposed to the hazard at work after that date. Dawn    mills and power stations in New Zealand in the 1960s and
Lehmann’ lawyer, Hazel Armstrong, argued that lump-
          s                                                  1970s. Such a case could not be brought in New Zealand
sum payments applied from when the victim first became       because of ACC legislation.
                                           CTU Calendar of Events

          Event                       Date/Time            Venue                               Contact
                                                                                  Consultation session for DoL on
                                                                                  the draft Workplace Health and
                                      Sept 27, 2004
CTU Health and Safety Group                             CTU Wellington            Safety strategy. Please contact
                                      9.30am-1pm
                                                                                  Nick Henry if you can attend. Ph
                                                                                 ( 04)  385-1334 ext 824


CTU presents submission on            Oct 4, 2004       Room G.02
                                                                                 Ross Wilson ph ( 04)   802-3812
Foreshore and Seabed Bill             2pm               Parliament



                                      Oct 4, 2004                                All affiliates asked to send a
Wellington Local Affiliates Council                     CTU Wellington
                                      3pm                                        reprepresentative


                                      Oct 5, 2004
CTU Food Sector Group                                   CTU Wellington
                                      1pm-5pm


                                                                                 Cross-union campaign to
                                                                                 strengthen membership and
International Road Transport
                                      Oct 11&12                                  organisation. To help, contact
Action Days
                                                                                 Kevin Lucas. kevinl@nzctu.org.nz
                                                                                 ph 027 663 4002


                                                                                  Meeting to discuss the development
CTU Learning Representatives          Oct 27, 2004      St John's Hall, Willis
                                                                                  of this plan. Contact Don Farr
Project                               1.30-3.30pm       St, Wellington
                                                                                 ( 04) 385-1334 ext.820



OTHER           EVENTS

Meeting about                                                                    A meeting with Mr Zaoui's lawyer,
                                      29 Sept, 2004
                                                        CTU Wellington           Deborah Manning, to discuss his
Ahmed Zaoui                           5.30pm
                                                                                 case



CTU COURSES

Leadership development for women                        St Columba Centre
                                      Oct 5, 2004       40 Vermont St,           Reminder
workers                                                 Ponsonby, Auckland


                                                        12th Floor, NZEI,
Leaders of organising ( part 2)       Oct 6-7, 2004     178 Willis St,           Reminder
                                                        Wellington


                                                        St Columba Centre
Advanced organising skills            Oct 12-13, 2004   40 Vermont St,           Reminder
                                                        Ponsonby, Auckland



Leadership development for women                        Trade Union Centre
                                      Oct 19, 2004      199 Armagh St            Reminder
workers                                                 Christchurch


Unions@Work: cross-union                                Forum North, Rust
                                      Oct 19, 2004                               Reminder
delegate seminar                                        Ave, Whangarei



                                                        EPMU, 9 Madeira
Delegates as educators                Oct 7, 2004       Lane, Grafton,           Reminder
                                                        Auckland


                                                        EPMU training room
Delegates as educators                Oct 13, 2004      298 Cashel St            Reminder
                                                        Christchurch


                                                        RSA rooms,
                                                        Level 2, 181 Willis
Delegates as educators                Oct 20, 2004                               Reminder
                                                        St, Wellington




 If you have any information about upcoming CTU events please contact:...

           Chris Cessford - (04) 802 3817 email: christinec@nzctu.org.nz

				
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