Last weekend, the Napthine Government and Mr David Davis yet again had a poke at paramedics in a not-so-subtle attack on paramedics’ representatives. It was also an attack on the campaign to address issues with the service and pursue wage fairness. When will this stop?
The following comments by Mr David Davis (taken from the article published in The Age Newspaper, May 10) are not helpful and appear to be trying to skew public perception of the organisations that represent paramedics:
“Who would be surprised that many of the claims by the hard left ambulance union, made in the middle of an EBA campaign, are often proven to be entirely incorrect,” Mr Davis said.
“The hard-line, left-wing ambulance union and its stooges are running a political campaign…….”
It should be made clear that Paramedics are in fact represented by two organisations in this state:
Ambulance Employees Association Victoria (AEA-V)
EMSPA Victoria (representing many Victorian Paramedics in EBA negotiations by virtue of bargaining representative legislation) wish to make the following points:
EMSPA Victoria is an apolitical Professional Association that was created By Paramedics For Paramedics. Emspa Victoria’s approach is to engage legal and industrial professionals to represent them, with paramedics performing most other roles in a voluntary basis. EMSPA Victoria has a different approach to the AEA-V but does not act to oppose it. We are in fact working in a united campaign with the AEA-V in this state for fair wages and conditions. Paramedics are free to be members of either or both organisations.
EMSPA Victoria has and is taking a significant role in the current EBA negotiations. We (like the AEA-V) are greatly concerned in the way that there appears to be no real attempt by the government to negotiate properly. Furthermore it is difficult for paramedics to take Stop-Work action given our role as an emergency service – it challenges our core beliefs. The government is taking advantage of this fact, dragging out the process, whilst saving money with not even CPI increases to paramedics pay during the EBA negotiations. The government makes grossly inadequate offers to paramedics, whilst trying to sell these offers to the public by publishing misleading information. Paramedics have quite frankly had a gutful!
Paramedics are justified in pointing out perceived flaws in the system. Doing this does not make paramedics “hard-line, left wing”, no matter which organisation points out the issues. We believe that there is a significant problem with the way that the government appears to be “draining” funds from both Ambulance Victoria and its employees (in relative terms). Expenditure within the service has been reduced, and with no pay rise in the last 2 years there has been significant slide in our pay compared to Paramedic wages in other states. Victorian Paramedics are now significantly underpaid.
The issues of investment in the service and paramedic pay are absolutely linked. Paramedics will leave if they are underpaid, thus reducing human resources. Equipment, trucks, ambulances branches, etc will be insufficient to cope with increasing demand if there is insufficient investment in the service, thus resulting in reduced infrastructure. Reducing human resources or infrastructure reduces the ability of the service to respond to emergencies. The government quotes figures stating that a number of paramedics were hired each year but do not quote how many are leaving. There are also a number of frustrated paramedics waiting to leave the service if an inadequate raise results. This is a profession where retaining experience is important and necessary.
Our next EBA Negotiation is scheduled for Friday 23 May. Let us hope that a positive approach is taken by the Victorian Government, with a genuine resolve to end this dispute fairly. Paramedics are not naive, and can see what is going on here. We are trying to publicise this as much as possible to make the public aware of the real issues. Please do not be fooled.
The article can be read in full: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/ambulance-crisis-plunges-to-new-depths-20140510-zr91w.html#ixzz31jw0ly5V
Regards – The EMSPA Victoria Team