Why doesn’t she and her cabinet cut the enormous build-up of keyboard-tapping public servant bureaucrats over the last 5 years and use the considerable budget savings to pay the people we really need — those on the frontlines of essential services, not just firefighters and other emergency people, but doctors and nurses in public hospitals?

from Pacific Media Network

​Firefighters hit the streets of South Auckland [Saturday] demanding better pay and working conditions.

Supporters rallied in various locations nationwide for an hour long protest, taking a stand against a variety of issues they’re facing.

Senior Firefighter Owen Pati says he feels they’ve been backed into a corner and have nothing else left to do.

“A lot of us are not really happy to be here in this situation, we were hoping that FENZ would come on board. Unfortunately we’re doing what we’re doing today to fight for better working conditions.”

The New Zealand professional Firefighters Union (NZPFU) rejected Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) pay offer of 1.5 to 2 percent. The first increase since July 2020.

Pati says the strike reflects the growing frustrations of not only their working circumstances but the rising cost-of-living. 

“The starting rate for firefighters isn’t great – they’re barely making above minimum wage.” 

Firefighters say they are deal with difficult situations on a daily basis, with call-outs that range from car accidents to people trapped in elevators. 

Incidents that involve children is something that weighs heavily on Pati. 

“A lot of calls we go to sometimes deal with kids. And those are the hardest things especially for myself, having kids of my own”

He says management doesn’t realise how the effects of dealing with families takes a toll on their workers and the workers themselves resort to methods of self support. 

“For a lot of the guys in the fire service it’s their first time being exposed to this sort of thing. It’s hard”

“What we do as a crew, we try and talk together and make sure everybody is ok after every single call.” 

The corner of Lambie Drive and Cavendish Road in Manukau saw dozens in support of today’s stand, including former Toa Samoa and Kiwis icon Ali Lauatiti. 

“They do so much for us and I want them to feel valued and that’s why I’m here to support them.”

He says he wants to bring attention to the real deserving heroes of the community.

“They sacrfice their lives to look after our communities but also their families. Hopefully they get what they deserve. Which I do think they do deserve.”

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) says it is disappointing the fire fighters union took the action, and they had contingencies in place during the one hour strike. 

Another hour-long stoppage is set for August 26.

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