The Communications Director for the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) gets all defensive about the role the EPMU played in the Pike River mining disaster.

Tom Peters has written several   excellent articles on the Pike River mining disaster for the World Socialist Website.

One article in particular provoked a reaction from Neale Jones,  the Communications Director for the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU).

The article, 'Drilling company admits safety breaches in mine disaster', (August 11)  reported  the admission of VLI Drilling that it failed to ensure its workers’ safety at the Pike River mine in the period leading up to the first explosion in November 2010.

The article appeared on the website and the Facebook page Investigate Pike River Mine Disaster.

Retorted  Jones: 'I have to say, this posting is just complete ignorance typical of the so-called ‘world socialist website’ (sic), which is written by an obscure Marxist group that has an axe to grind against the NZ union movement. The reality is the EPMU is at the forefront of efforts to bring mine safety up to international best practice, including worker-elected check inspectors. This kind of misinformation doesn’t help anyone.'

Jones made no effort to refute the charges of negligence laid at the door of the EPMU. Nor has he had  anything to say about the EPMU's compliant relationship with the management of PRC.

Jones was also Communications Director of the EPMU when Andrew Little was National Secretary and is also a member of the Labour Party.

In the past he has been a regular contributor to the Labour-aligned website The Standard, writing under a pseudonym.

You can find him on Twitter here.


  1. RE: ANDREW LITTLE MP - At Pike River, Miners union (EPMU and forerunner) failed in representing workers industrial health and safety interests - with pay and benefits the most basic of workers welfare interests - (which of course includes monitoring performance by Dept. Labour of mining safety responsibilities). Basically this is the fault of trade union membership who have permitted a takeover of their union (and trade unions generally) by people from the urban educated liberal elite who see themselves more as part of the "labour movement" than as trade union activists. This description appears to fit Andrew little miners union/EPMU Little General Secretary for 11 years until recently - 2011 election Labour candidate for New Plymouth (and perhaps also predecessor Rex Jones) during which 11 years the rot set into mining safety - following the destruction of regulation by previous National Governments (left unremedied). Both Jones and Little found time to be President of the NZ Labour Party at the same time as being EPMU General Secretary. Mr Little apparently wasn't likely to robustly challenge the industrial safety policy failures of Labour Government Ministers of Labour and dereliction of public duty by Dept.of Labour chiefs.

  2. I knew a unionist once - back in the days when the unions were being dismantled . I started to commiserate with him one day about what was happening and he commented that he didn't mind that much, he had scored a great piece of office equipment out of it and that he had a job lined up in Wellington ( at the trough as it turned out ).


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