Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca paramedics to vote on action

Echuca paramedics will join with hundreds of other Victorians to vote on industrial action next week.

IVY WISE September 5, 2014 3:01am

Echuca paramedics are expected to vote on industrial action next week as they enter their third year without a pay rise.

The Fair Work Commission recently approved 27 administrative and communication bans, including taking media out with crews, recording data on paper and not electronically and releasing response data without Ambulance Victoria approval.

Echuca paramedic Ian Wines said the voting forms had been posted and Echuca’s 22 ambulance officers should receive them by next week.

‘‘The result might not be known for two weeks and then we have to give three days’ notice,’’ he said.

The vote comes after Ambulance Victoria rejected the union’s plea not to force employees to relocate for relieving purposes and back-date wage increases.

However, Mr Wines said money was not even the issue anymore.

‘‘I’m certain that an agreement would be made tomorrow if it was just about the money,’’ he said.

‘‘There are two clauses that we will never agree to and they are the removal of the right to union representation and the unreasonable expectation to become relievers.’’

Health Minister David Davis said the rural reserve system would ensure services were available across the state when needed and worked on a voluntary basis.

‘‘If Ambulance Victoria was unable to fill a vacancy on a voluntary level, then a reserve would be called upon to fill a vacancy within about an hour of home,’’ he said.

‘‘This would only be introduced if approved by the independent umpire at Fair Work.’’

However, Mr Wines said there was nothing in the EBA that guaranteed rural paramedics would not be sent to a branch more than an hour away.

‘‘There is nothing in the agreement that prevents that from happening,’’ he said.

Mr Wines said the $44 a day allowance to compensate for travel time would barely even cover fuel costs or travel time.

‘‘It would also create an unsafe working environment with fatigue issues associated with extra travel time,’’ he said.

Mr Davis said claims about the union facilitation clause were wrong.

‘‘The union facilitation clause means payment for union secondments and payments for union members to attend union meetings, rather than being on the road,’’ he said.

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