"Wimmera paramedics will quit": Ambulance Employees Australia rejects State Government pay offer

Wimmera paramedics fight for a pay rise in January. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Wimmera paramedics fight for a pay rise in January. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

AMBULANCE Employees Australia state secretary Steve McGhie believes Wimmera paramedics will quit en masse if the State Government’s proposed changes to work conditions are successful.

The government released a revised pay offer on Wednesday.

Ambulance Employees Australia and the State Government have been locked in a pay dispute for about two years.

Much of the impasse has involved the government’s proposed changes to work conditions, including forcing staff to do shift relief work.

Mr McGhie said people would quit if they were forced to move anywhere in the state for up to a month at a time.

“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,’’ he said.

“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.’’

Mr McGhie said paramedics in Melbourne could work that way because of reasonable distances.

But he said it was impractical and dangerous in rural Victoria.

Mr McGhie also talked down a $3000 sign-on payment in the revised offer.

The previous offer was a $1500 sign-on payment.

Mr McGhie said the State Government and Premier Denis Napthine had shown arrogant contempt and disregard for paramedics by calling it an upgraded pay offer.

“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 back pay,’’ he said.

“Apart from that there is nothing new here, but there’s a lot that’s rotten.

“This offer is a con, a sleight of hand.

“The sign-on payment was $1500 November last year. 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.”

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