SkyCity convention centre fire: Workers claim they are still sick from toxic smoke fumes

A SkyCity employee claims to still experience toxic poisoning from last month's convention centre fire.
A SkyCity employee claims to still experience toxic poisoning from last month's convention centre fire. Photo credit: File

SkyCity staff will strike outside the Auckland landmark on Friday night with workers claiming to still be experiencing toxic poisoning from last month's massive blaze at the neighbouring convention centre.

A fire broke out on the roof of the centre on October 22, destroying large parts of the centre and sending huge plumes of toxic smoke across the central city.

Unite Union spokesperson Joe Carolan told Newshub around 50 workers claim to still be sick from the smoke, which caused air quality standards in the city to be breached for the first time.

"The workers are the ones who are leading this strike, they're just so angry about it," Unite Union spokesperson Joe Carolan told Newshub. 

He says ill employees are being silenced.

"What I'm hoping for is that we get enough anger today that we break the cone of silence. We shouldn't be gagged because people are sick."

Auckland Council released final air quality results from the blaze on Wednesday, which showed there were elevated levels of black carbon, zinc and arsenic the day after the fire broke out.

The Council said the results were to be expected and would be unlikely to cause significant health impacts.

But a SkyCity worker, who asked not to be identified, claims to still experience symptoms of toxic poisoning.

"It's not just me, it's among other friends as well. They're still feeling sick, with a numb tongue, sore throat, and they feel vomity," she told Newshub.

"You feel this heat and then you have watery eyes and runny nose and you feel like you're going to vomit and you can feel the mucus," she continued.

The woman told Newshub she was vomiting at work but wasn't allowed to go home. 

She claims she told her shift manager, "I need to go home" but they accused her of lying.

She said it took three days to be provided masks.

A SkyCity spokesperson said in a statement to Newshub indoor air quality at the precinct was rigorously monitored and met all regulatory standards. The spokesperson said at no stage did the testing show any level of threat.

She said Friday's strike won't impact business.

The protest is set to begin at 6:40pm outside SkyCity.