For those of you outside of New Zealand, yesterday a massive coolstore fire in Hamilton claimed the life of a Fire Fighter. The New Zealand Fire Service has a very low rate of operational injuries or deaths, and a real focus on safety and training.
Natural the New Zealand Fire Service released a notification of the death in suitably sombre terms.
On the other hand, and in typical rabble rousing style, the New Zealand Professional Firefighters union has come out batting, blaming cutbacks for the disaster.
Their spokesman Boyd Raines says it was an accident waiting to happen, and that the union has been calling for more than one fire truck to attend fire alarm calls for some time now .
Firstly their outburst is completely inappropriate given the death only occurred yesterday, secondly it would appear from all reports that multiple Fire Appliances were in fact sent to this call, thus nullifying the union’s contention. Thirdly the union is attempting to subtly create an artificial paid/volunteer differentiation that is far from the reality.
I’ve had thankfully little experience with unions over the years – the things I have seen however lead me to be totally dubious about their relevancy or effectiveness for a modern economy.