SOUTH-WEST ambulance officers are stepping up their industrial action in an enterprise bargaining agreement process.
Ambulance Employee Association regional representative Jock O’Connor said Victorian ambulance officers were the highest skilled in Australia and the worst paid.
He said Victorian ambulance officers were paid $25,000 a year less than their colleagues in South Australia and the ACT.
“All we want is parity with other states. Victorian ambulance officers are recognised as the highest skilled in the nation but we’re the worst paid,” he said.
“This EBA started in November last year and Ambulance Victoria is talking productivity gains but we are already providing the best possible service.”
Mr O’Connor said improved results had been recorded in relation to cardiac arrests, trauma and resuscitation.
“The figures are all through the roof in relation to the lives being saved by ambulance officers but that’s not considered productivity,” he said.
“We are being offered five per cent but that involves taking away leave and leave loading. We would finish up only one dollar a week better off. We are not going to give up our basic conditions for a pay rise. What would happen at the next EBA? There is simply nothing left to trade away.”
The union spokesman said a survey of ambulance officers showed that 50 per cent of the officers were prepared to leave the service in the next five years if their skills were not recognised through increased pay in line with other states.
Mr O’Connor said only Warrnambool was covered by elite mica paramedics in the south-west with ambulance officers in other south-west centres such as Colac, Hamilton and Portland having to drop their elite-level skills to live in those cities.
“All those other cities and towns in between are not considered for mica coverage,” he said.