Dead and in­jured work­ers hon­oured

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

The late Helen Kelly, a for­mer Coun­cil of Trade Union pres­i­dent who died of lung cancer in Oc­to­ber aged 52, will be com­mem­o­rated in Palmer­ston North dur­ing Fri­day’s Work­ers’ Me­mo­rial Day.

Public Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion Manawatu union or­gan­iser John Shen­nan said a plaque com­mem­o­rat­ing Kelly will be ded­i­cated dur­ing the an­nual me­mo­rial ser­vice to work­ers who have lost their lives, or suf­fered ac­ci­dents and in­dus­try-re­lated ill­nesses while on the job.

The lunchtime ser­vice at the Fitzroy St Work­ers’ Me­mo­rial in Ter­race End’s Me­mo­rial Park will see Kelly’s plaque un­veiled by her hus­band Steve Hur­ring and her son Dy­lan.

‘‘Helen was a great cham­pion of in­dus­trial health and safety, sup­port­ing our ac­tiv­i­ties and at­tend­ing ral­lies in sup­port of work­ers at the AFFCO Tal­ley’s plant in Feild­ing and the CMP meat­works lock-out in Mar­ton,’’ Shen­nan said.

‘‘She put a lot of time into help­ing lo­cal work­ers through th­ese dis­putes, and we felt it was ap­pro­pri­ate to recog­nise her and her work on health and safety is­sues, and also for keep­ing pres­sure on the Gov­ern­ment over [New Zealand’s] hor­rific in­dus­trial safety record.’’

That pres­sure re­sulted in the gov­ern­ment in­tro­duc­ing new health and safety reg­u­la­tions, Shen­nan said.

Fri­day’s cer­e­mony will be at­tended by city mayor Grant Smith and reg­u­lar Me­mo­rial Day speaker, bishop emer­i­tus Peter Cul­li­nane.

‘‘We’re pleased the city coun­cil has come along­side to help us or­gan­ise the plaque.

‘‘Work­ers’ Me­mo­rial Day is an in­ter­na­tional event held un­der the aus­pices of the United Na­tions. Its pur­pose is to chal­lenge New Zealan­ders to see work­place health and safety as a cru­cial is­sue.’’

Shen­nan said or­gan­is­ers of the ser­vice had been pleased with at­ten­dance in re­cent years by the mem­bers of fam­i­lies, es­pe­cially from farm­ing fam­i­lies who had lost some­one to an in­dus­trial ac­ci­dent, which in­cluded quad bike deaths.

Those at­tend­ing on Fri­day will have the op­por­tu­nity to place pieces of coal from the Pike River moun­tain range on the me­mo­rial cairn, in mem­ory of the 29 min­ers who died in New Zealand’s worst work­place ac­ci­dent of re­cent times. Lo­cal group The Brazen Hussies will be per­form­ing the songs Union Maid and Bread and Roses.

DAVID UNWIN/FAIR­FAX NZ.

Union or­gan­iser John Shen­nan speaks at last year’s Work­ers’ Me­mo­rial Day ser­vice.

KEVIN STENT/FAIR­FAX NZ

Helen Kelly, a for­mer Pres­i­dent of the New Zealand Coun­cil of Trade Unions.

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