No wonder they wont stick their heads up!

In an earlier post a contributor describer how a Victorian Ambulance manager used the guise of the “fitness for duty assessment” as a means of dealing with a troublesome and vocal unionist during a protracted dispute.
Well guess what, it would appear that ASNSW are using the same playbook.

In an industry with one of the highest suicide rates there is, where depression and anxiety are rife.
In a country where we are supposed to be trying to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Where organisations such as Beyond Blue, SANE Australia and the Black Dog Institute are trying to get people to come forward and get help.

From the NSW ambulance union,

“We are disappointed to announce that this bullying and intimidating culture appears to be more widespread than we suspected.
An active and vocal member has been sent home from work, against her will, on her own sick leave as ‘unfit for work’ for medical (emotional well being) reason. This decision was made by managers, i.e. not a Dr. She was instructed to go home until an independent medical opinion could be given.
The ADHSU does not question the employer’s right or responsibility to ensure that all staff are safe and well to attend work.
But our member (who has continuously maintained her fitness to work) then went to a doctor and was given a clearance to return to work as fit and well.
This was not good enough for the Service and the management has ordered her to stay off work, using her own sick leave, until she is reviewed by a doctor that NSWA choose.
The date they have given her for this appointment is 30 days away! !!!
That is right…they are ordering her to use her sick leave for 30 shift penalties, no overtime opportunity, no chance to continue her CTP progression…All on the instruction of a manager, while she has a medical certificate stating that she is fit for all duties.
This paramedic is the primary wage earner for her family and this is impacting her family both emotionally and financially.
The ADHSU is supporting our member with all our available resources but enough is enough..we need the strength and support of all operational paramedics to stop ridiculous behaviour like this.”

It seems that ambulance managers are trying to use mental health as an industrial weapon.
Any wonder why a paramedic would be reluctant to stick their heads up!

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2 Responses to No wonder they wont stick their heads up!

  1. MCCOY 8064 (Ret'd) says:

    I’m not at all surprised.
    If you think about it, it’s a parallel to the Mental Health Act, Schedule 1 & Schedule 2 process?
    The Exception is that the Assessment for “recommendation” (meaning Yes/No to fitness for work) is performed, at a time convenient, to an Organisation’s appointed Physician.
    Risk Analysis & OHS is a twin edged sword.
    All designed to be very transparent, laden with Duty of Care and lamentably, in the discharge of this benevolent act upon one’s welfare: Incredibly stressful & intimidating!
    Any statement to this affect from the recipient, only reinforces the initial grounds for Standing Down.
    Unfair Dismissal only nets 6/12 pay or $50K?
    In the case of Govt Departments, it isn’t their money they’re spending, so who cares?
    Govt. Departments, if feel the need, can employ Consultant Psychologists whom specialise in strategic behavioural manipulation to best suit their client’s optimal outcome.
    I would suspect this as potentially widespread practice; if not now, certainly in the future?
    I’m not making this up: I know of one case already.

    Your case in point, is actually quite clever!
    Naturally, it would be assessed for watertight robustness by Legal counsel.

    I’m not saying I agree with this method!

    People need to consider their value to their Organisation.
    Are you easily replaced?
    Was much spent upon bringing you to Operational Readiness?

    If reasonable due process is seen to be implemented?
    Squeaky wheels no longer get oil….we live now in a time of readily available replacement parts.

    In 1992, my group were told we’d cost the Taxpayer, some $240,000 each, to Qualification.
    We were actually told to be careful out there! It was pretty hard to transgress sufficiently to incur dismissal in real terms.

    This isn’t 1992.
    Speak out as your heart tells you: but consider the consequences, and be ready.
    There are no “Tools Down” union support decrees anymore. Outlawed.

    It’s not all doom & gloom however!
    That created by Man, can be thwarted by Man.
    Classic David & Goliath scenario. Except there’s plenty of people named David applying for positions, and Goliath has real time streaming Coaches!
    Don’t take a knife to a Gunfight.
    Read Sun Tzu’s , The Art of War. Simple text. Still applies today.

    I can’t think of any more clichés so I wish everyone their Informed Best Wishes.

  2. sad ambo says:

    Sickening tactics. Apart from the obvious emotional, psychological and financial hurdles being experienced by this member directly, the ripple effect where many will now withdraw into shells to avoid similar treatment. It is bullying in the extreme, and potentially could damage this person irreparably in the areas mentioned above. I have no doubt the union executive in NSW is fighting this as hard as they can, and can I only reiterate to the NSW members that they MUST stick together, they must educate the public and above all they MUST STAND TOGETHER AND FIGHT!!

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