Auckland Local members are advised of the following situation that has been developing at Waitemata Fire Station.
What has been occurring is that there has been obvious planned intimidation by the Waitemata Volunteers who man the station outside the Yellow Watch hours. This has led to an incident occurring on Monday night whereby the Waitemata Volunteers were involved in creating an incident which, had it not been for the sensible and mature actions of Professional Firefighters at the Station, there would have no doubt been physical violence perpetrated by the group of volunteers concerned.
On the day in question the Yellow Watch crew included one overtime firefighter. In the Union’s view, this individual has become the target of the Waitemata Volunteers’ actions and the Union has no doubt that the visiting overtime staff member was not fully conversant with the culture and mentality of those Waitemata Volunteers who make up the numbers outside of Yellow Watch hours.
One of the Union members at Waitemata has been advised that on the day prior to this incident, that a Waitemata Volunteer had made the statement to other paid firefighters that he wished to catch him in a ‘dark alley’ to deal with him. Those statements are further evidence of the intimidation and harassment that is occurring to our members.
The Union therefore, in an effort to fully protect members from any action that Management will take against individual paid Professional Firefighters, recommends to its members that no overtime be undertaken at Waitemata Station.
Members are well aware of the unsavoury environment that exists at both Waitemata and Silverdale by the volunteers towards the paid staff. We now have serious concerns that this environment and the attitude of Management to totally support and justify any action of volunteers on both of these stations, is to the detriment of Professional Firefighters’ employment.
The Union believes that the least minor action or incident involving a paid Professional Firefighter will lead to serious ramifications for that individual. The Union’s instruction is to protect fully individuals’ who may be asked to do overtime at Waitemata Station as we believe in doing so, members will place their employment in jeopardy if required to deal with the volunteers.
The Waitemata Yellow Watch crew and the Union have requested that until the matter is resolved to the Union’s satisfaction, that the Yellow Watch crew be relocated to Te Atatu Station. The Te Atatu Volunteers have acknowledged their support for this and are prepared for this to occur. This request has been made to Regional Management and has been declined.
As of today, an investigation has been commenced by CFO Cocker. Members will be kept informed of necessary developments.
The Union is shocked and appalled at this cowardly and unlawful conduct by the Waitemata Volunteers. This level of harassment and intimidation of our members by Waitemata Volunteers is despicable, unacceptable and unlawful.
Again, the Union reiterates its instruction to members that no members accept or undertake overtime at Waitemata Fire Station until further advised.