Tony Abbott: Please respect our sacrifice

My name is Vanessa Harmer and I am a paramedic. And I’m really concerned about the new laws being introduced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott that will allow our penalty rates to be stripped and traded away.


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Thousands rally for right to protest

 Paramedics as much as anyone know the risks the Napthine Government’s proposed restrictions to the right of political protest pose for Victorians, United Voice member Morgyn McCarthy told a rally of thousands of protestors outside Parliament House today.

“We don’t have that many options for industrial action but one of the things we do have is the right to peaceful protest and rally,” Morgyn told the protest.


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Penalty rates a fair reward for sacrifice

By JESS WALSH (pictured below addressing a rally of cleaners)

After 22 years of continuous economic growth and having dodged the bullet of the global financial crisis Australia needs next to do what exactly? Abolish penalty rates, according to Tony Abbott’s business supporters.

He has not been quite as blunt as that. Instead, the Prime Minister has used weasel words about supporting applications by business to abolish penalties, but the effect is the same. The government is lending its weight to pressure to undermine the pay and conditions of the poorest paid, most disadvantaged workers in the country.


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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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