Paramedics will quit in droves if the State Government succeeds in its plan to force ambos to move anywhere in the state for up to a month at a time, says Steve McGhie, AEA state secretary.
“The government wants the power to uproot paramedics from their home base to send them anywhere in the state for anything from a single shift to a month at a time,” says McGhie.
“This is one of the strings attached to the offer the government did not talk about. The disruption this poses for families, and the health and safety issues around extensive travel after long shifts at work, make this completely unworkable.
“Paramedics in metropolitan Melbourne have for years co-operated this way because distances are reasonable. But to impose it in rural Victoria is impractical and dangerous.
“The clear message from our members today is that if this gets up there would be a mass exodus from the service.”
McGhie says the government displayed an arrogant contempt and disregard for ambulance paramedics by calling this an ‘upgraded pay offer’.
Another part of the scam was that instead of giving it to paramedics, journalist had first look at the offer. Then, the government tried to hide the ugly conditions attached to it.
“According to Premier Napthine the big ticket item is doubling the sign-on payment to $3000. What he doesn’t let on is that paramedics have not had a pay rise for almost three years, and the payment is to cover the lack of backpay,” says McGhie.
“Apart from that there is nothing new here, but there’s a lot that’s rotten.
The government also wants to remove employees’ rights to representation at disciplinary hearings. This is simply part of its ideological crusade against unions.
“This offer is a con, a sleight of hand. The sign on payment was $1500 last November. It’s been topped up to give the appearance of something generous when it’s not. It’s the same contemptuous approach we’ve had all along.”