4 Dec 2010

Labour Dept staying out of mine dispute

11:58 am on 4 December 2010

The Department of Labour says it won't settle a conflict between the miners union and Pike River Coal over interviews in an investigation into the disaster at the mine.

Twenty nine men are dead after a series of explosions at the mine since 19 November.

The Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union says the mining company wanted its lawyers to sit in on the interviews and where that hasn't happened, they questionned employees afterwards.

The union says lawyers should be banned so its members can speak frankly.

Pike River Coal says it is up to employees whether they accept the presence of lawyers.

The Labour Department says it is comfortable with lawyers from either side being present and is informing employees they have a choice.