Wimmera paramedics ramp up industrial action

WITH less than 100 days until the state election, the ambulance union is ramping up its industrial action in a bitter pay dispute with the government.

The Ambulance Employees Australia, Victoria Association union will apply to the Fair Work Commission to put 27 work bans to a member vote.

If the bans are enacted, journalists and politicians will be able to travel on ambulances.

In March, the union was forced to abandon its plans to allow journalists and politicians to travel with ambulance crews after the government successfully applied for a High Court injunction.

State union secretary Steve McGhie said the ban would be a chance for the public to get an insight via the media into how the system operated.

“It will show the under-resourcing of the system,” he said.

“It will show hospitals are under the pump, what paramedics encounter and how they’re juggling what they have to do.”

The bans will also see paramedics in rural areas refuse to use their private vehicles to travel to postings.

“Ambulance Victoria is relying on paramedics to use their private vehicles more and more to shuffle them around the Wimmera,” Mr McGhie said. 

“For example, if someone’s employed at Horsham that’s where they sign their contract to work. 

“Ambulance Victoria might then send them to Warracknabeal, Dimboola or Edenhope without an agreement, and wants them to use their own car at their own cost.”

Mr McGhie said the union was still trying to resolve the ongoing dispute.

“It’s been two years and the government is threatening to take the offer off the table on Friday,” he said.

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