15 Feb 2011

Union seeks government funding for Pike River inquiry

8:24 pm on 15 February 2011

A union is calling on the Government to help pay for its legal representation in the Pike River mining disaster inquiry.

Twenty-nine workers died following an explosion at the Pike River Coal mine on the West Coast on 19 November last year.

The Government on Tuesday announced it will fund legal representation for the families and contractors at the Royal Commission.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says while it is up to it to provide legal representation for members, the inquiry is likely to cost it several hundred thousand dollars.

EPMU president Andrew Little says the costs go beyond anything the union has experienced before, and it is justified in asking for government assistance in the same way the families and contractors have.

Mr Little says it may be forced to ask overseas unions to help fund the costs if the Government does not provide assistance.

Eleven of the 29 workers killed were members of the EPMU.