THE region’s paramedics will next week vote on whether to launch industrial action if talks between the union and Ambulance Victoria break down.
The Ambulance Employees Association (AEA) union received approval from the Fair Work Commission to launch action, lifting the ban on crews speaking to the media and for ambulances to carry union insignia.
The AEA will put the move before a ballot next week with frustrated paramedics expected to vote in favour. Warrnambool AEA representative James O’Connor said Ambulance Victoria and the Department of Health failed to agree on a wage increase.
The union wants a 30 per cent increase over three years but has been offered a 2.5 per cent increase this year.
“This is getting pretty serious ... it’s definitely going to come to a loggerheads,” Mr O’Connor said.
AEA state secretary Steve McGhie said paramedics earned as little as $56,000 to $63,000.
Ambulance Victoria regional services general manager Tony Walker said wage increases were on the table in return for a handover of entitlements.
“We are intent on giving our paramedics more options and enable them to achieve wage increases substantially over 2.5 per cent,” Mr Walker said yesterday.