Paramedics and Control Centre Officers at NSW Ambulance will receive a special one-off payment after the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) ran a wage case to successfully defy the NSW Government’s freeze on public sector wages.
APA (NSW) ran their wage case for the 2020-21 financial year separately from other unions, focusing on the exceptional nature of workplace changes in a year marked by bushfires, floods and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is not a Paramedic in the state who doesn’t deserve a pay increase after being consistently at the frontlines through this unprecedented year,” said APA (NSW) President Chris Kastelan.
“The additional payment is a recognition of the enormous stresses and changes we have seen in our workplace through this period.
“We’re happy Paramedics will be going home with more pay than they would have if we hadn’t stood and fought.
“But we’re disappointed this result doesn’t lock in stability for workers with regard to future wages. We’re also disappointed the Government won’t provide the same payment to all those workers who have served on the frontlines.”
Earlier this year, a consortium of public sector unions lost an appeal over the decision to cap their wage increase to 0.3%. Before the disruptions caused by the pandemic, an annual increase of 2.5% was commonplace to keep wages in line with cost of living.
“This government has thrown significant resources toward cutting frontline workers’ pay, despite the Parliament clearly rejecting this approach when the Government tried to legislate a wage freeze,” said Mr Kastelan.
“Our case took 5 days of hearings before Full Bench of the IRC. We gathered hundreds of pages of evidence from members, as well as engaging independent economic experts.
“The work our members do is absolutely crucial to keeping NSW safe. It’s a shame we have to dedicate so much time and resources to get our government to recognise this.”
Last year, APA (NSW) took industrial action against the government’s proposed wage freeze legislation by refusing to bill patients for ambulance rides. The union are currently considering the Government’s initial offer of a wage increase of 1.04% for the 2021-22 financial year.
“We’re disappointed to see the Government doubling down on an approach which stands to punish working people”, said Mr Kastelan.
“At a time when we need to stimulate the state’s economy, it’s good economic policy to give public sector workers the stability of routine raises, so that wages can at least keep up with cost of living. Taxpayers’ money would be better spent on this than granting breaks and favours to big businesses”