Penalty rates essential for families and services

Victoria’s ambulance service would likely collapse if penalty rates were abolished since no-one with a family could afford to do the job for its base rate of $56,000 a year.

That’s the opinion of eight-year paramedic Brett Adie who says the job’s unsociable hours make it extremely difficult for partners of paramedics to hold a regular job once they have children. Without penalties enabling members to support their families there would be an exodus of paramedics from the service, he says.


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'What Do They Think We Are - Robots?'

"The pension and superannuation ages need to be raised to 70 years and indexed to longevity, the Productivity Commission has warned in a report that reveals the ageing of the population is a much bigger threat than previous Treasury reports have suggested” – The Australian November 22, 2013.

With a working day that begins at 6pm in the city, and ends ten and a half physically demanding hours later at Newport, Slavka “Suzie” Kotevski posed a question many low paid employees were thinking after the Productivity Commission report was released last year.


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86-year old woman dies after two hour wait for ambulance


Paramedics say that a tragic case where an 86-year Williamstown woman with heatstroke died following a two-hour wait for an ambulance during last week’s heat-wave is further evidence of an ambulance system in crisis.

Paramedics reported delays of seven hours and extensive ramping across the network during last week’s heat-wave. An elderly patient waited on a stretcher at the Northern Hospital for over nine hours for a bed. No crews were available to attend to a patient in Hoppers Crossing in a motorbike accident. He had skin missing from his face and a fractured femur with the bone sticking out.

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To Build A Life

Da “Peter” Zheng speaks for an entire generation of working people when he volunteers the elements that make for a good job: full time, stable, on-going employment. That is the stuff with which you can build a life.

Peter studied information technology at RMIT but his first, and so far only job in Australia is as a table games dealer at Crown Melbourne where he has worked for more than six years. He is one of the big winners out of our We Are Crown campaign waged by union members at Crown Melbourne throughout 2013.  A new experience-based career structure delivered him a 13 per cent pay rise, with further increases of four per cent to follow over the next two years. These pay increases mean Crown Melbourne staff have retained their place as Australia’s best-paid casino workers.


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A Winning Hand

As a casino table games dealer for more than five years Frank Sermeliotis ought to know something about what winning looks and sounds like. And so he does, but it is not the flashing lights, ringing bells and the rattle of poker chips that might first come to mind.

Frank’s big win is the sound of his children at play while he has the time to spend with them. Since the 12 month We Are Crown campaign ended with a series of four per cent pay rises and a career restructure where dealers are rewarded for their experience and years in the job rather than the number of games they can deal, Frank is reorganising his life.


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Sea of Red

Close to a thousand paramedics were joined by grieving parents Julie Wilson and Steve Gibbs at their Code Red protest on the steps of Parliament House, Melbourne today.

Julie and Steve, both of whom lost their sons in separate instances when paramedics were unable to respond in time to their emergencies, spoke of the pain of loss and their support of ambulance staff in the Code Red campaign.


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An Extraordinary Man

Writer Ian Munro profiles union delegate and United Voice Branch Councillor Gamal Babiker.

Only someone sure of themselves and their place in the world could laugh like Gamal Babiker. Laughter comes easily to him in the same breath as he says of himself: “It’s a sad life. It’s not a life.”

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United Voice members: The backbone of our community

Strong Voice. One Voice.

jess.jpgJess Walsh, United Voice Victorian Secretary's speech to our annual Delegate & Leader Convention, held today at the MCG.

It was great to be with you all out on the streets today supporting cleaning members.

And it’s because our cleaning leaders decided to stand up and take to the streets back in 2006, that today members work under our Clean Start agreement, and they have respect, job security and a living wage.

That Clean Start agreement, like so many of the wins we’ve shared across our whole union in this state, in all our sectors, has changed lives.

And that’s what I want to talk about today – how, when United Voice members decide to stand up in our workplaces and industries, we change lives.

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No Turning Back

Writer Ian Munro profiles union delegate and United Voice Victorian President Kerrie Devir.

The battle may be lost but the war remains to be won.

Thirty years after she began her life’s work in early childhood education, Kerrie Devir could be forgiven for feeling a little frustrated about how the pendulum swings of national politics snatched away the gains for workers like her.

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