DOL urges against complacency on building sites

As the working year kicks off, the Department of Labour is urging those in the construction sector to remember the importance of safe work practices. “People are going back to work after a few weeks off, but this doesn’t mean anyone can be complacent about safety issues,” says Jean Martin, the Department’s Labour Group Southern Division General Manager. “Hundreds of construction workers are injured on building sites every year - invariably these accidents can be preventable if every care is taken. [...]

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Auckland Port chief ready to replace striking union workforce

File photo of Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson posing in front of cranes that are not getting worn out with over use at the moment. Ports of Auckland boss Tony Gibson is setting out to replace striking union workers with private contractors on the city's troubled wharves. In a sign that the long-running dispute between the Ports and the Maritime Union is escalating, Mr Gibson yesterday said he was "absolutely" prepared to replace 330 union jobs with private contractors [...]

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Tech brain drain in NZ government departments

Govt Techies leaving for greener pastures?Government departments lost a significant number of high-tech employees last year, according to a new survey. The State Services Commission's annual Human Resources Capacity Survey examines employment characteristics of the public service in New Zealand. They found that information and communications technology (ICT) roles like systems analysts, programmers and customer support officers fell by 13.5 percent in the year to June 30, 2011 - the biggest drop of all government employment groups. There were 1738 ICT fulltime [...]

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Pike River: DOL Mines Inspector tells of “impossible task”

Kevin Poynter setting the record straight at the Pike River Inquiry.The Labour Department has made only two prosecutions of underground mines in New Zealand since 2005, an inquiry into the Pike River tragedy has heard. Alan Cooper, the department's health and safety practice leader, admitted he had not known the number of prosecutions was so small. The department needed to have a "clearer focus on potential for harm", he told the inquiry at Greymouth District Court this afternoon. Nigel [...]

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ERA orders couple to pay nanny over holiday work dispute

Amanda Akeson in happier times before she was voted off the island by her employers.A Swedish au pair taken on holiday with the Kiwi family she worked for was dumped at Samoa's airport for refusing to work while they stayed at a Pacific resort. Janine and Hamish Learmonth claimed their nanny refused to work once they arrived at their idyllic holiday spot. And after accusing Amanda Akeson of wrecking their holiday, the Learmonths sent an "emotional" Ms Akeson packing to the [...]

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Bank of America cuts 30,000 jobs

Bank of America says it is cutting 30,000 jobs in the coming years as it looks to slash annual expenses by US$5 billion, but investors were disappointed in the scant new detail the bank provided about its plans. The bank's chief executive, Brian Moynihan, said Bank of America is focusing for now on cutting costs in consumer banking and is taking steps like combining data centers to reach its target. Many of the job cuts will come from attrition [...]

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NZ employers feeling more optimistic

New Zealand employers are significantly more optimistic than they were this time last year, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook quarterly survey of hiring intentions. The poll of 650 New Zealand employers shows 29 per cent expect to increase hiring in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 26 per cent in the last three months. The number of employers planning to decrease hiring is at 6 per cent, down from 9 per cent in the third quarter. [...]

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Labour scam sentence sends message about immigration fraud

A legal migrant worker in Blenheim.Immigration New Zealand says the conviction of a Blenheim labour contractor for employing foreign workers to enable them to remain in New Zealand unlawfully shows its intolerance of immigration fraud. Nixon Nixon, who had been employed by Walton Services Ltd, was sentenced in the Blenheim District Court after admitting 11 charges of immigration fraud. He was fined $120 on each charge and sentenced to six months’ community detention and 140 hours of community service. His [...]

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Unions reject government offer in ‘sleepover’ pay case

Over 90 percent of PSA and SFWU union members have rejected an offer from Government to settle the long-running sleepover case. The unions started legal action in 2007 to seek the minimum wage for sleepovers. The sleepover cases are also seeking six years of backpay for thousands of union members who have worked sleepovers throughout New Zealand. Both unions have been meeting with their respective members throughout the country over the past month to consider and vote [...]

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Pike River explosion had “origins in repealing of regulations”

Robin Hughes, the former chief inspector of coal mines told the Royal Commission into the tragedy today that "The explosion at Pike River mine..had its origins in the repealing of the Coal Mining Act and regulations in 1993." The commission is inquiring into the disaster at the West Coast coal mine in November last year which left 29 miners and contractors dead. Mr Hughes, who has over 40 years of coal mining experience, criticised mine safety changes made by [...]

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