In the ACT, Paramedic crewing is drastically impacted with an increasing workload putting a strain on the workforce that has led to catastrophic crewing levels.
It’s taking its toll, it has been relentless over the last couple of years and it is having an effect on Members. A lack of relief crews is burning out paramedics, resulting in staff leaving the service. The result is poorer outcomes for the people of the ACT. Response times suffer, there is no doubt about it
Paramedics in the ACT are still battling the ACT Government over staffing and resources. In recent weeks staffing on nightshift in the ACT Ambulance reached critical levels with one Saturday night in early July seeing us fall 50% below the minimum crewing level. The impact of COVID affecting staff was profound, leaving the ACT dangerously understaffed and forcing the closure of an ambulance station.
The lack of a contingency plan to deal with the critical level of staff shortages has been noted. The crews who worked that night performed professionally through what was a long and difficult evening.
Urgent discussions were held to address the risks posed by this situation. The TWU continues to push for the resources and back up plans to ensure there is not a repeat of this episode.
PARAMEDICS ACT Budget 2022
Indications are that a sizable budget enhancement is in the offing for the ACT Ambulance Service in the 2022 Territory budget. The TWU has been pressuring the Barr Labor government to provide funding to support the ongoing expansion and modernisation of the ACT Ambulance Service. Rest assured, if the government does not deliver on their promises in this regard, the TWU membership are ready to consider options around unprotected action to highlight how essential this funding is.
TWU-ACT Government Accord
ACT TWU Delegates have endorsed the text of a draft “Accord” which outlines mutual commitments to the important issues still facing the ACTAS in its transition to a modern high performing ambulance service. These include urgently required infrastructure and stations; investment in a fit for purpose management structure; serious resourcing of mental health and wellbeing initiatives; resumption of ICP training and urgent support for the ACTAS Communications Centre. The TWU looks forward to this compact being finalised and underpinning the government’s prioritisation of issues over our 5-year strategic planning horizon.
The EA is due for renegotiation and planning is occurring to ensure important outstanding issues from the last round of bargaining are strategically addressed. The other big-ticket item will be a new roster without any loss of pay or leave. A members’ survey has endorsed 12-hour day/10 hour day/12 hour afternoon/10 hour night pattern. Negotiations to secure this change are due to begin in earnest in the near future.
STAR AVIATION AGREEMENT
Aviation workers unite to fight for protection and conditions at Star Aviation at the Canberra Airport. Workers have rallied and served the company with a log of claims for improving working conditions including equity in rostering and permanent positions and greater certainty and structure.
TWU members will continue the fight, united to ensure the company improves conditions at the Canberra airport including providing reasonable breaks.
The TWU will shortly hold another meeting of airport workers to share their stories and fight together to improve the aviation sector. Details will be shared for the October meeting.
Klaus Pinkas • Sub-branch Secretary