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Christchurch: A time for peace and unity, no place for xenophobia

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

FIRST Union is rallying around those affected by the terrorist attack in Christchurch, and calling on employers to be mindful of the mental wellbeing of staff.

FIRST Union Southern Secretary Paul Watson says now is a time to unite in solidarity with all.

"We send condolences to the victim’s families and support Islamic communities everywhere. Our team in Christchurch is assisting members who have been affected by yesterday’s events. It is during times such as these that we need to pull together in solidarity and support and care for each other. Peace and unity is needed at this time."

Mr Watson says xenophobic and anti-immigrant speak is not welcome in New Zealand.

"Unions around the globe are condemning the terrorist attack. These dangerous far-right ideologies are not welcome in New Zealand and they are not a part of a healthy society. New Zealand is a special country, and this attack will not define us."

He says emergency staff have been working around the clock to care for those affected.

"I’d like to say a gigantic thank you to frontline emergency services, including St John call centre personnel and frontline emergency paramedics whose quick actions yesterday assisted in minimising the casualties and pain experienced by survivors."

Mr Watson adds that employers also have a role to play.

"We also ask that employers be mindful and sympathetic, not just today, but next week and in the future, of the mental wellbeing of staff. Ensure they have the time off they need that is paid so they don’t have to experience any additional life stresses to add to this horrific event. This is really important. We would encourage more regular meetings with your staff to check in with individuals and to work with union officials, they are there to help."

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