I am certain that “James Campbell” of the Herald Sun, will read this blog and any comments posted.
James, it is my personal opinion that you are a disgrace to your profession. Where is the balance in your constant monologue of blatant union bashing?
FACT: Victoria’s paramedics voted in favour for all current (and absolutely legal) industrial actions and the union executive did not (nor will they) take any action without approval of their paramedic membership.
Try changing the word “union” in your future comments and replace it with “paramedics”.
I doubt though, that you would, because even “Liberal inclined” members of the public would respond differently if your “union bashing”, became “paramedic bashing”. Tell me that I’m wrong!
The following is a complete reproduction of James Campbell’s latest effort at “unbiased” reporting, or is it? Or click here to see the original article in the Herald Sun.
Please make up your own minds and leave your comments below this blog.
Oh, and James (Campbell) please add your reply here too. It will not be suppressed!
Refusal of ambos union to face the ump is puzzling
SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 5:47PM
THE long pay dispute involving the state’s paramedics, which has been rumbling on for two years, took a turn for the worse last week with ambulance officers voting to expand indefinite industrial action.
The new bans, which begin tomorrow, are a grab bag of irritants designed to get under the skin of Ambulance Victoria management. Along with a refusal of ambos who live in rural areas to use their own cars “to travel to locations which are not their usual place of work” and a ban on acting team managers and senior team managers attending any meetings with external agencies or organisations, union members in management jobs won’t be taking part in any disciplinary and counselling matters.
There’s a lot more of this sort of stuff, none of which should cause anyone who might need an ambulance to lose sleep. Indeed, you can be assured union officials will be careful not to do anything that might put lives at risk.
If they were to do so, Ambulance Victoria would have the matter into Fair Work Australia for arbitration faster than you can dial 000. And that is the last thing the union wants.
With roughly a month until the Napthine Government goes into caretaker mode, the union seems content to run out the clock on the dispute, presumably in the hope that a victorious Labor Party will reward its members for all the good work they have done in getting Daniel Andrews elected.
To summarise the situation, the Government has offered a 6 per cent pay rise this year with 3 per cent next year and 3 per cent the year after that. As a sweetener it is also offering a $3000 signing bonus for accepting the deal.
But that’s not all. Unlike the police and nurses whose EBAs preclude their unions trying to get any more money during their life, the Government has agreed that if the ambos sign, they can go to Fair Work and argue their work is undervalued.
When negotiations for the new EBA began in 2012, AV had hopes of achieving productivity improvements, including expanded use of Ambulance Community Officers, changes to part-time paramedic entitlements as well as changes to meal allowances and what is called the “rolled-in rate”.
Over the course of the journey, however, those plans have been abandoned. The only two sticking points — aside from money — between the two sides are “union facilitation” and “rural relieving”.
Union facilitation is the present arrangement by which taxpayers and ambulance subscribers have to pay a paramedic 13 weeks’ pay a year to work at the union.
We also have to pay for 15 union delegates to attend six council meetings a year.
The union’s position is that it is non-negotiable — indeed, it would like to increase the number of paramedics released to attend to union business. The Government estimates that costs about $250,000 a year.
Ambulance Victoria’s position is that it is prepared to have the matter adjudicated by Fair Work.
More important than time off for union delegates, however, is the rural relieving issue.
AV is proposing that paramedics in rural areas might have to drive “about an hour” from their usual place of work to fill in gaps in rosters.
The idea is to create a pool of volunteers prepared to undertake this work but if there aren’t enough volunteers, then paramedics could be compelled to fill in — but only for a maximum of four weeks a year.
This being the public service, naturally they will be paid an allowance for being on the relieving roster even if they are not required to travel away from their usual place of work. They will not be required to stay away from home.
Again, AV’s position is it is prepared to allow Fair Work to arbitrate the matter, to which the union has said no way.
Interestingly, a similar system is already in place in Melbourne.
Perhaps it is unreasonable to expect people to have to drive an hour to work even for four weeks a year and we should all be happy to pay for non-working union officials.
In which case it is strange that the union is refusing to have the matter adjudicated by the workplace umpire.
JAMES CAMPBELL IS STATE POLITICS EDITOR