Subject: ABC: Poor work practices blamed for man's death in E Timor

ABC Online

Last Update: Friday, March 19, 2004. 10:50am (AEDT)

Poor work practices blamed for man's death in E Timor

Union officials are calling for changes to work hours after a man died in an industrial accident at the Port of Dili in East Timor.

East Timorese citizen Pedro Henrique, 40, was crushed by a container during the unloading of an Indonesian ship.

He was employed by Perkins Shipping.

Trades and Labour Council (PLC) spokesman Didge McDonald says labour laws in East Timor specify a normal working day is eight hours, with a maximum of four hours overtime.

But he claims Mr Henrique had been on the job for 19 hours.

Mr McDonald says inadequate work practices contributed to the death and that officials have been calling for changes for more than a year.

"We would hope that this practice would stop immediately and wouldn't be required to work outrageous hours such as they have been doing and that the 12-hour maximum would be adhered to - I don't think that's a big ask," Mr McDonald said.

Mr McDonald says the enforcement of labour laws is a major problem.

"Some of the companies operating, the Australian companies operating in East Timor, take advantage of that and stretch the point to their own advantage and get away with what they can," he said.

© 2004 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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