Spare a Thought


Lots of you will be visiting family and friends, hitting the beach and enjoying yourselves during the Christmas break. It’s not so for many of our members, who continue to deliver essential services around the country while the rest of us are relaxing. Working Life caught up with some of our members across the union to hear what will be keeping them busy during the break.

THOMAS ADAMS

What do you do?

I’m a meteorologist at MetService.

What will you be doing over the Christmas period?

It’s a 24/7 operation, so there’ll be the full range of forecasting shifts as normal. I’ll be in the media shift this Christmas – social media, press releases, radio. That’s just how the roster fell this year – it could have been aviation or marine forecasting, or public reporting for TV and radio.

Why is the work you do important?

MetService is responsible for public safety – it’s crucial, especially in terms of weather forecasting.
We also have commercial clients depending on us. The weather is also really important while people are on holiday at Christmas – whether it’s about having your BBQ, boarding your flight, or if you’re halfway up a mountain. The weather doesn’t stop!

Is there something you’d rather be doing during this time?

No really. If I wanted Christmas off, I’d have booked it!

Do you like what you do?

Yeah, it’s a good job. It’s challenging, varied, and it involves working with a highly-skilled group of people. We have great camaraderie here, particularly during the Christmas period.


 

ISAAC MCINTYRE

What do you do?

I’m a Resource Officer; a kind of planner within the Waikato Regional Council.

What will you be doing over the Christmas period?

I’m working on the after-hours pollution hotline, which is a small team rostered on for different occasions. We operate the service for reporting pollution and then follow up.

Why is the work you do important?

If there’s a spill of some kind – like from a milk truck crash or an oil spill – we report on the likelihood of things getting into waterways, coordinate the clean-up process, collect evidence if needed, and generally make a determination on what’s happened. It can cover everything from odour issues from factories, effluent discharges, or testing oil filming substances on a waterway.

Is there something you’d rather be doing during this time?

Yes, but it’s voluntary for me to be working. I have a child on the way, so I wouldn’t be holidaying at this time of year. Being on call also means time and a half for a minimum of 3 hours, some meal and on-call allowances. So the perks more than make up for working over Christmas for me.

Do you like what you do?

Totally! It’s very interesting work. Follow-up paperwork can get a bit tedious, but the work holds my interest.


 

RONA SEDMAN

What do you do?

I’m a support worker. I care for people in their homes. 

What will you be doing over the Christmas period?

I’ll be visiting clients, taking them out, doing housework and generally supporting people to have a good life. I’ll also be carrying on with my social work degree over Christmas.

Why is the work you do important?

Because some people in the community need to be supported to live their lives to their full potential, and that doesn’t stop over Christmas.

Is there something you’d rather be doing during this time?

I wouldn’t mind being on holiday! Not working would be nice: maybe sitting on a nice beach, being supported myself!

Do you like what you do?

I do. It can be challenging at times, but it's definitely rewarding. Though it’s worth mentioning that I’m working for free at the moment – since November 14, women in New Zealand all have been due to the gender pay gap.