“The protest by striking firefighters at the opening ceremony of the $4.9 millon Mt. Roskill fire station tomorrow (Friday), will go ahead”, says Jeff McCulloch, President of the Firefighters Union in Auckland.
He said “We were hoping that our concerns would have been given some sort of credence by the Fire Service and the government, but that has not happened, so our protest will proceed”
Jeff says “we are protesting not only in support of our contract negotiations, which have stalled, but also to bring to the attention of the Prime Minister and the wannabe Supercity Mayor John Banks, the extraordinary extravagance and inept management of the senior managers of the Fire Service who can spend $4.9 million on what is essentially a 5 bedroom house with a large garage to house 4 men, and waste $500,000 on consultants to advise on the refurbishment of the Central Auckland Fire Station, which the firefighters who work there have told them repeatedly, is not necessary. The list of extravagances and terrible decisions goes on and on, and the waste of public money continues with no-one being held accountable”
“If this protest causes John Key to at least ask a few of the right questions, then we will have succeeded, even more so if he asks us the questions” Jeff said.
“We are also very concerned at this government and the Fire Services’ continual reneging on promises over the manning of fire stations in the Auckland Area. In particular the proposal to remove a crew from Avondale station and relocate them to Te Atatu, when we had been promised additional staff for Te Atatu, and that the crew from Avondale would not be moved until such time as Ponsonby station was relocated , Te Atatu was built, and Mt. Roskill was relocated.
The Fire Service, to use an often used quote “are just moving the deck chairs on the Titanic”.
There are less firefighters on duty in Auckland now that the population is around 1.5 million than there were in the mid 1970s when the population was around 750,000 and we also have fewer aerial appliances.
The protest will commence at 11-30 am on Friday 11th September 2009, the eighth anniversary of the deaths of 343 FDNY firefighters in the World Trade Centre in New York.