Taking all available steps to reduce firefighters’ exposures to carcinogens is fundamental and this week level 2 PPE was removed from the engine bay at Christchurch City Station.

The Christchurch Local and Southern Branch representatives have worked hard to keep their members’ safe and are to be congratulated as this is a significant achievement in reducing ongoing exposures to carcinogens.

Our members in Christchurch have been living and working in sub-standard conditions for the past 8 years including the open storage of their Level 2 PPE in the engine bay.

Initially the sub-standard conditions were supposed to be only very temporary measures pending a move to a newly built temporary station while the earthquake damaged City Station was to be demolished and re-built to new station design. But eight years later very little has changed.

Our members were reticent to make their plight public as they were very conscious that the Christchurch community was suffering with thousands living in very poor conditions.

The open storage of the Level 2 PPE in the engine bay was subjecting our members unnecessarily to carcinogens. The World Health Organisation has determined diesel exhaust fumes are carcinogenic to humans – the highest risk in the IARC scale. Exhaust extractors are not 100 percent effective and globally fire services are removing any PPE from the engine bay as one of the fundamental preventative actions to reduce exposures to carcinogens.

While the new temporary station is scheduled to be completed in a few months, this preventable exposure had to cease immediately.

In addition, the current plans for the temporary new station are not acceptable to the NZPFU as the firefighters’ accommodation does not have windows or natural light. The claim that the station will only be very temporary is no reason for Christchurch career firefighters to be housed in sub-standard conditions.

At her first meeting with FENZ CEO Rhys Jones and Board Chair Paul Swain, NZPFU Secretary Wattie Watson raised issue that will require changes to the station plans. The CEO understood windowless accommodation was unacceptable and undertook to follow up the issue promptly. We hope to have am update on that issue in the new year. 

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Season’s Greetings and Office Hours

The Auckland Local wishes all members a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The Auckland Office will be closed from the afternoon of Friday 23 December 2022, reopening on Monday 9 January 2023.


Ratification Meeting next Tuesday 13th Dec at 5pm

As you will be well aware by now, we have finally reached an agreed term of settlement in the negotiation for a new CEA. The NZPFU is recommending members accept it and ratify the settlement offer. The National Committee has completely wrung out the sponge for every possible drop of benefit to members, and it's now our turn to act.


Breaking News

SIGNIFICANT SETTLEMENT OFFERED TO NZPFU MEMBERS

Christmas cheer may have come a little earlier for NZPFU members with the NZPFU National Committee today releasing and recommending ratification of a proposed settlement with FENZ. After 18 gruelling months of negotiations and six months of industrial action including all NZPFU members walking off the job twice, the NZPFU members have just received the detail of the proposed settlement that the NZPFU recommends members’ accept.