NSW Paramedics to strike
NSW AMBULANCE paramedics will go on strike next Saturday following a breakdown in negations over rural rosters in the Industrial Relations Commission.
Paramedics met at Murwillumbah this evening, and at other sites around the state, to consider their options and voted to strike shortly after 7.30pm.
Health Services Union lead organiser Ken McIntosh said the action is in response to the NSW Ambulance Service "forcing unsafe rosters" onto rural paramedics.
"These rosters are considered unsafe on a number of fronts," he said.
"They are forcing rural paramedics to extend their already fatiguing and dangerous hours of duty (as well as) moving a great portion of ambulance resources away from the busiest part of the day into afternoon shifts.
"This movement creates a minimum resource in the main part of the day which will create a situation where ambulances potentially will not be available to attend 000 calls during the busiest demand periods."
Paramedics have been concerned about the rosters for some months and organised meetings across the state this evening following the Industrial Relations Commissioner's recommendation on Tuesday that the rosters be introduced.
The commissioner Justice Staff also instructed paramedics not to participate in any industrial action in relation to the introduction of the rosters at regional non 24-hour stations.
Representatives from the NSW Ambulance Service could not be reached for comment tonight but are expected to seek assistance from the commissioner early next week to prevent strike action.
During the strike paramedics will only attend emergency calls and life threatening transfers.
Mr McIntosh said paramedics had taken this course of action "with the greatest disappointment" blaming "the unsafe practices enforced by the NSW Ambulance Service and its managers onto rural paramedics".
"The HSU has taken into account the safety of the general public when taking this action and apologises for any inconvenience caused," Mr McIntosh said.
"The HSU also put the NSW Ambulance Service on notice that if they try to suspend or harass any paramedic in relation to this industrial action (they) will walk away from their duties completely and no ambulance will be available in NSW."