Ambo dispute escalates

FATIGUED paramedics will escalate industrial action to “send a strong message” to Ambulance Victoria in hopes of ending a 19-month enterprise agreement dispute.

Moe unit paramedic and union representative Tony Davis said 97.5 per cent of Ambulance Employees Australia – Victoria members voted in favour of enacting 22 additional work bans aimed at frustrating employer AV.

“We’re just looking for fair negotiations. AV aren’t supporting their paramedics on the road and are putting out a lot of misinformation,” Mr Davis said.

He stressed the actions would not impact on the public’s safety as they did not affect paramedics attending emergency calls, but rather AV’s administrative requirements.

AEA-V assistant secretary Danny Hill said some bans would be implemented at the weekend and others later, with stop work action a “last resort”.

AV general manager regional services Tony Walker said AV was “disappointed” an in-principle agreement had not been achieved, adding AEA-V “prefers to take the path of escalated industrial action”.

“AV will seek to terminate any industrial action that impacts on our service and would affect the safety and welfare of the community,” Mr Walker said.

He said no progress was made at a conciliation conference with the Fair Work Commission last week and no further negotiations had been scheduled at this stage.

“The formal wage offer remains on the table and Ambulance Victoria remains open to negotiation,” Mr Walker said.

Mr Davis said the union was essentially seeking pay parity with other states without compromising their current agreement’s conditions.

“We are the highest trained and qualified, yet the lowest paid (of all the states).”

“AV have let (working conditions and pay) go backward to a point where paramedics are leaving the state in droves.

“A lot of the more experienced paramedics are getting worn out, with a few looking at leaving.”

Mr Davis, who has served as a paramedic for more than 30 years, said he was nearing the end of his career due to fatigue, lack of support and increased workload.

“There are actually less cars on the road than when I started in 1980 – the number of cars on the road has reduced by one or two yet the workload has gone up significantly with no added support from AV,” Mr Davis said.