EQC staff 'bullied and abused' by residents

9:25 pm on 2 March 2013

Earthquake Commmission customer service and repair staff in Christchurch have been subjected to bullying and abuse from frustrated residents, the commission says.

Staff from EQC and Fletchers EQR along with roading and infrastructure workers have said they are being verbally abused on a daily basis.

EQC customer services manager Bruce Emson said in some cases the abuse has gone as far as death threats.

He said everyone is suffering and staff are doing their best in the worst circumstances.

"I appreciate people are frustrated with my agency and others but when they are they (should) just consider the overwhelming task and the fact that other human beings are trying to deal with it."

Mr Emson said the EQC call centre has taken more than 1 million calls in the past 12 months.

A sickness beneficiary who does not want to be named and who lives in the badly damaged North New Brighton suburb, says while he doesn't support violent or aggressive behaviour, he understands why it is happening.

He says the Commission needs to be more open and approachable so claimants understand what is happening.