E tū represents hundreds of workers in energy and mining across New Zealand, including coal, iron-sands and gold miners, and workers on oil rigs and in offshore exploration. Many vibrant New Zealand communities have been built around the energy and mining industry and it’s a rich part of New Zealand’s work and community history.
Health and safety is a key focus of our work in energy and mining. The Pike River Mine disaster in 2010 was a sombre reminder of the danger in the industry and the need for tight regulation to keep our miners safe. E tū was a staunch voice for reform in the sector to prevent this tragedy from being repeated.
A ‘Just Transition’
Although there will be a need for coal mining for steel production for the foreseeable future, E tū acknowledges the importance and inevitability of the transition to renewable energy. However, we need to ensure that the burden of the change will not be borne disproportionately by the workers and communities that rely on the work they are currently carrying out.
That’s why E tū is part of a global movement calling for a Just Transition to renewable energy. This means proper engagement with all stakeholders, opportunities for retraining, regional development where good jobs will be needed to sustain communities, and a plan worked out by all stakeholders.
As the world of work is set to change dramatically in the coming decades due to automation, new technologies and many other factors, E tū believes that getting a Just Transition right for energy and mining workers will be an important blueprint for how society handles these changes across many other industries in the future.