Female CTU President Distorts Truth About Workplace Deaths
Tomorrow, April 28, is Worker’s Memorial Day. According to the Council of Trade Unions (CTU)
“Fifty-one workers were killed while they were doing their job last year”
This figure of ’51 workers’ will be misleading.
These will be workers paid by employers and probably don’t include farmers and others in various forms of self-employment. What about the road deaths of those on the way to work or travelling in relation to their own business? Also, there are many more deaths of people undertaking work roles that aren’t part of paid employment, such as those fishing or hunting to feed their families. They are also killed in their work. Like workplace deaths as counted by the CTU, these uncounted categories of worker deaths will involve mainly male deaths. Even those killed driving to or from work will more often be males required to travel longer distances in more dangerous driving conditions such as gravel roads.
CTU president Helen Kelly bemoaned the deaths of ’51 workers’ on the job here last year, referring to them as
“Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, loved members of family fabric…”
She carefully avoided any comment that might draw attention to the fact that nearly all of those killed on the job were men. Ok, if indeed there were any mothers and daughters in the statistics it’s fair enough to refer to them, but in the absence of any recognition that this is overwhelmingly an issue of male disadvantage Helen Kelly’s statements are badly misleading. This is propaganda that deliberately plays down men’s disadvantage and men’s contribution to our society. Even if the unpaid work roles women more often than men contribute to their families etc were taken into account (e.g. raising children, driving, working on one’s own farm or orchard) men would still overwhelmingly dominate the statistics.
If Helen Kelly really cared about workplace deaths she would acknowledge the male gender of the vast majority of them. Her ‘respect’ for fallen workers when she marches tomorrow will be the crocodile tears of someone for whom feminist propaganda is more important.
These statistics do include farmers; they accounted for 35% of the total or 18 of the 51 deaths.
There were four female deaths and two child deaths of 55 recorded as dealt with by Worksafe although only 51 are recorded in the work related statistics.
I cannot see for certain how many female deaths there were but certainly no more than four of which two were vehicle accidents on farms, a snow boarding accident, and a 71 year old falling from height.
The press release makes specific mention of the 10 forestry fatalities (says 11 but there were 10) last year and the fund raising mentioned is likely connected to proposed legal action by the CTU mentioned here in relation to two forestry deaths.
Thanks for clarifying that Downunder, and it’s good to know that farm deaths are included in the counting. There will still be many categories of work both monetary and unpaid that are not included.
As you suggest the figures do not tell the full story:
The figures being quoted are sourced from WorkSafe and only cover the areas they are responsible for.
They do not include maritime and aviation fatalities or fatalities due to work-related road crashes.
As a union leader she represents those in employment and specifically union members so these are the figures she is concerned with, and thank goodness someone is. If something is done to reduce workplace deaths then men will be the main beneficiaries won’t they?
I don’t think her sex has any relevance to the issue and trying to make this dubious link isn’t helping the credibility of this site.
Thanks for your opinion Daniel. Your point concerning Helen Kelly’s responsibility only to union members is valid. We wonder though whether her figure of ’51 workers’ referred exclusively to union members.
Regardless, her comments did not refer to ‘union members’ but to ‘workers’, implying that she was referring to work deaths overall. That is at minimum careless and misleading.
Yes, you’re right that men might feel glad that attention is being paid to workplace safety because men will benefit most from that. However, that’s irrelevant to the issue of deliberate obfuscation of men’s contribution, sacrifice and disadvantage through statements by Helen Kelly and others.
The problems of domestic violence and sexual assaults are often portrayed as gender issues involving only female victims even though the proportion of male victims in both areas is considerable. But when it comes to work deaths and injuries, suicide and other problems in which men are clearly much more disadvantaged, all reference to gender is avoided and the fact these are gender issues is ignored or denied. Helen Kelly should not be jumping on that truth-suppressing feminist bandwagon.
Helen Kelly is female and she deliberately portrayed workplace deaths as being something other than a gender issue overwhelmingly disadvantaging men. There is nothing ‘dubious’ about that. One might expect that a female, when referring to a problem mainly affecting men, would take special care to show sensitivity to the gender issue and to be seen to be nonpartisan. If a male representative of rape victims showed insensitivity to women by carefully avoiding any acknowledgment that women are most often the victims and indeed that the problem significantly involves broader gender issues, he would be publicly roasted and deserve it. Helen Kelly equally deserves it.
Why would they deserve it?
Male victims are ALMOST always deliberately excluded and victims of female perpetrators are ALWAYS excluded from discussions of sexual abuse.
Advocates for those victims have every right to speak for those victims – and only those – without an expectation that they kowtow to somebody else’s ideology. This expectation that male victims must not be heard unless they first acknowledge that women have it worse is nonsense.
gwallan #6: Yes, fair comment if the advocate makes it clear he is representing only male victims, but my comparison referred to a male representative of rape victims, not only male rape victims. To speak about rape victims in general and carefully avoid any reference to women being those victims, indeed trying to give an impression that men are as often victimized, would deserve criticism. Helen Kelly deserves criticism by doing the same thing in the opposite direction regarding workplace deaths.
Here’s yet another news article discussing the high rate of forestry deaths without even a passing reference to men. Why do spokespersons, journalists (or editors) all go to such great lengths to avoid acknowledging male sacrifice and disadvantage?
Is acknowledging sacrifice in an indirect way saying thank you? (Most NZers aren’t very good at saying thank you.)
I am guessing that many non forestry people in NZ, men and women, consider that these workers have voluntarily chosen a high paying job, knowing and understanding the risks.
I don’t think it is high paying.
I suspect that most of the young men don’t understand the risks realistically.
I suspect that most of the young men don’t give informed consent.
I suspect that many of the workers do feel under considerable pressure to accept these jobs.
Once employed, I suspect that there is a ratchet effect, just take an extra bit of risk.
The employer is far, far better protected from proper and appropriate accountability, than the worker is protected from wood and gravity.
I would like to see the CEOs of all of the companies in the chain of employment have to give 8 weeks of useful personal service, for each of their seriously killed and injured workers. (Several of these guys would never see their desk again.)
To speak about victims of violence in general and carefully avoid any reference to men being those victims, indeed trying to give an impression that women are more often victimized, would deserve criticism.
And yet that is what is occurring everywhere up to and including global institutions.
It doesn’t matter who the majority of victims are. The focus will always go one direction.