CTU has always backed the families in their fight to get back into the mine.
Now they have taken it to a new level, writing to police and WorkSafe NZ, requesting them to take over the re-entry to the mine where 29 men died.
“So this activity has been privatised to Solid [Energy],” says CTU president Helen Kelly. “They’ve mucked everybody around with this process and we are now calling on WorkSafe and the police to make their own assessments, and if they think it’s safe, make their own entry into the drift.”
Ms Kelly’s letter to police says: “We are unclear why, when the investigation into this accident is incomplete, the decisions on re-entry have been left to a private company.”
The Pike families believe Solid Energy is getting ready to announce it is abandoning re-entry to the mine’s drift, or tunnel, in spite of WorkSafe declaring it safe to go in.
The company’s concerns about structural instability inside the mine, the lack of a second egress, and potentially volatile gasses have appeared recently in the media.
It is information the families have been fighting to get and now they say the company has undertaken to give them the same material.
“We should have been provided with that information right from the beginning,” says Pike families’ spokeswoman Carol Rose. “We have been in fortnightly meetings with Solid Energy and they have known about these issues for some time but they’ve not been raised with the family group.”
Pike families have their own experts who believe re-entry is possible. They are overseas and the families are now trying to get hold of them again to go over the new information Solid Energy is now providing.
As for the request for the police and WorkSafe to take over the re-entry, police are considering their response, and WorkSafe says it finished its investigation and it is not its job to undertake recovery activity.