As we mark the anniversary of the Christchurch attacks the PSA has added its voice to a call for peace from the city’s Muslim community.
PSA delegate Benjamin Gresham says the Christchurch Invitation is a call to spread peace, reconnect, and feed the hungry - which draws on the teachings of the Muslim tradition.
“It’s also a call to remember how we came together last year and how we saw through the differences. It’s a call to remember the loss but also to remember the hope.”
Ōtautahi PSA Organiser John Stace says the Christchurch Invitation reflects the values of our union. “We too want to build unity and strength from our diversity.”
John says the PSA Ōtautahi Delegate Leaders Group which came together to support members following the attacks is keen for the response to be meaningful.
“We can’t just move on. Rather than succumbing to those who seek to divide us, we want to continue to show kindness and caring for others.”
Ben Gresham is a member of the Muslim community who has also been part of the PSA Ōtautahi group while seconded to work for the Office of Ethnic Communities in Christchurch.
He says he’s been struck by how the fatigue felt by the Muslim community has also been shared by PSA members involved in the response to the attacks – highlighting how much we were all affected.
He says the community would like to pass on its thanks for what people and government agencies have done to support them.
“There were a lot of good deeds, unwitnessed beautiful acts that people did that wouldn’t have been seen by others and it’s important to acknowledge that.”
John Stace says the March 15 anniversary has brought back memories for members, especially coming so soon after the February 22 earthquake anniversary.
He says the feelings of tiredness continue for some - along with workplace stress, and mental health challenges.
John would like to encourage greater understanding of workers who may be experiencing difficulties.
“We are seeing a lot of situations where the coping ceiling of people has been lowered and in those cases we’d like employers to think about what is really going on here.”
PSA members and local communities joined forces in February to protest restructuring that threatened hundreds of jobs and quality client care.
While the restructuring by HealthCare NZ is now set to go ahead the protests have thrown a spotlight on issues besetting the home care and support sector.
Union organisers from the Pacific have spoken about the challenges some face while trying to improve conditions for workers in their countries.