The children of
the security guard assaulted and seriously injured at Waikato Hospital have criticised
Allied Security and the Waikato District Health Board for failing to keep her
suffered a broken arm and required surgery for multiple facial fractures after
“It was a
pretty big shock. I didn’t know what to say to be honest,” says her son, Carl
“There are a
lot of questions. She should have been safe, but she wasn’t. There should have
been a lot more safety measures.”
Tajuana (pron. Tay-jana) Eltringham says when she saw the state of her mother
after the assault, she fled from the ward.
“I burst into
tears and walked out, it was a massive shock seeing my mum like that,” she
was telling her two younger siblings, aged 7 and 9, what had happened to their
“I had to
explain why she wasn’t coming home and why they couldn’t see her – the bruising
and stuff – I couldn’t let two young kids see her that way,” says Tajuana.
Both Carl and
Tajuana say their mother had several close calls before the assault.
“There are a
lot of the guards, not just my mum, who say they’re not safe. That guy
shouldn’t have been on that ward,” says Carl.
“There are a
lot of people you could blame, the person who did it obviously, but then Allied
and the DHB after that.”
useless,” says Tajuana. “They don’t look after their staff. They never have.”
Carl Harney is
also angry about a media muzzle imposed by Allied on its security guards, which
means his mother can’t speak for herself.
“I’m pretty pissed
off about it,” says Carl. “I think everyone should have that right to talk, she
should have that right.”
He says his
mother loves her job at Waikato Hospital: “She loves the people she works with
and she loves working at the hospital.”
But Carl and
Tajuana were very concerned about her extremely long hours. Both say their mother was constantly
“harassed” to work during her time off.
“She got called
in on every single day off. Mum is never home. She gets harassed even when
she’s told them she’s not available to work. The big bosses – they don’t
understand. They just think, ‘Yeah, you can work’.
“The fact the
guards are underpaid and under-staffed is the other thing because you have to
work those hours because of the low wages.”
says his mother is “up and down. She’s pretty tired most of the time. She’s
pretty much lost her independence.”
E tū senior
organiser, Iriaka Rauhihi says Allied Security’s media ban is preventing guards
from speaking up about important health and safety issues.
have the right to voice their legitimate concerns about this, but they don’t,”
she says. “How can health and safety be improved with a culture of
muzzling those on the front line?
guards have been told not to speak to media – they know that means they could
lose their jobs if they do.”
To speak with Carl Harney or Tajuana
Eltringham, please contact Karen Gregory-Hunt, ph. 022 269 1170.
Iriaka Rauhihi Senior E tū organiser ph.
027 544 8697