01/08/2008 - 14:39

Ambos vote to take industrial action

01/08/2008 - 14:39

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The wages dispute between the LHMU and St John Ambulance WA took a turn for the worse today when the state's paramedics voted in favour of taking industrial action.

Ambos vote to take industrial action

The wages dispute between the LHMU and St John Ambulance WA took a turn for the worse today when the state's paramedics voted in favour of taking industrial action.

WA Business News reported last month that the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union had threatened industrial action against WA's ambulance service if it didn't commit to a 15 per cent pay rise for paramedics over three years.

The state's largest union also wants a restructuring of working conditions to bring paramedics in line with WA's registered nurses.

LHMU secretary Dave Kelly has also called on the state government to take over the ambulance service, accusing St John of profiteering by overcrowding emergency departments.

The unions' assistant secretary Carolyn Smith said the results of today's Industrial Relations Commission ballot showed that paramedics were "overwhelmingly" in favour of a restructuring and want to take protected industrial action against St John WA.

"We have asked St John Ambulance to meet with us next week to resolve the issue," she said.

"We hope they will act in the best interests of their paramedics and agree to introduce a career structure for paramedics.

"If the negotiations fail we now have approval to take action. Action may include paperwork processing delay and uniform not being worn on certain shifts.

"Paramedics are also allowed to speak to the media, something that is usually disallowed by St John's."

Although St John WA had initially agreed to the 15 per cent pay rise over three years, Mr Kelly said he wants St John to bring paramedics' wages in line with nurses first, and then add the 15 per cent.

St John WA chief executive Tony Ahern has vehemently refuted the union's claims of profiteering and said paramedics in WA were some of the best paid in Australia.

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