The Government’s attempts to totally abolish meal allowances for stretched ambulance officers has failed but cuts to the previous allowance will mean ambos who put patients before a meal break will lose money following the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission’s (QIRC) arbitration late.
United Voice’s strong submission to the QIRC stopped the total abolition of the allowance with a new provision being inserted. The new provision is significantly less than the previous allowance.
Importantly, the QIRC supported United Voice’s position that proper meal breaks are an important workplace health and safety issue and must be dealt with properly. This will be taken up with gusto by the union.
It is important to note the Government actively pursued the erosion of many workplace health and safety provisions for members during the arbitration.
On the positive side, we were successful in stopping the Government’s bid to:
• abolish family friendly three-month roster arrangements;
• cut consultation with paramedics;
• minimise fatigue breaks; and
• refuse salary sacrifice.
As expected with the Newman Government’s new rules on public sector pay rises, the QIRC simply mirrored the government’s wages submission awarding 2.2% increase per annum.
The Newman Government had hamstrung the once-independent umpire’s ability to set wage rises on merit.
The proof is there for all to see: the decision mirrors the Government’s position to the decimal point yet the politician’s independent salary umpire is allowed to award 30% pay rises.
I know who Queenslanders value more – and it’s ambulance officers over politicians every day.
The Newman Government has pushed ambos to the brink by holding down wages and driving hard to cut their allowances and other important entitlements and workplace health and safety provisions.
An urgent meeting of the Ambulance State Council will be called to decide the next step in this campaign.
While we have stopped the worst excesses of the Government’s agenda, it is impossible to ignore these attacks against you – the very ones who are always there to help save Queenslanders’ lives.
A full report will be issued to members once State Council has considered the full decision and considered all options in response to it.
In the meantime, I urge all members to be stay connected to your United Voice delegates and keep your eye out for our updates as government commentary on the case may not be authoritative or reliable.