Debate rages as paramedics look at industrial action

A BENDIGO paramedic has hit out at the state government’s “disgusting” tactics in an industrial dispute that looks set to escalate.

Paramedics are considering taking stop-work action in the latest push to improve pay and working conditions.

Bendigo paramedic Brett Adie said a range of industrial measures were being looked at.

He said paramedics were fed up with the government’s attempts to discredit their position in the drawn-out pay negotiation.

“I would say all paramedics are feeling absolutely disgusted with the way the government are handling this,” he said.

“They’ve mounted a negative campaign against paramedics. It's a classic case of fudging figures and not telling the whole story."

Mr Adie said he believed the government were deliberately leaving out details in newspaper advertisements urging paramedics to accept their pay offer.

"They're trying to hoodwink the public," he said. "They're trying to make us out like we look greedy.

“To say it is offensive would be an understatement.”

Exchanges between the union and the government have become more heated this week following an early end to Monday’s meeting at the Fair Work Commission.

Health minister David Davis accused the union of "storming out of the conciliation" and "dashing hopes of any immediate settlement".

Mr Davis said the government remained committed to the offer it made late last year, which includes a pay rise of six per cent up front, with a $1500 sign on bonus. 

Ambulance Employees state secretary Steve McGhie said the union would look at stepping up its industrial action in the coming weeks.

He said the stop-work would be a "worst case scenario" and said no protected actions would affect ambulance availability.

“None of our actions we take will put the public at risk,” he said.

Mr McGhie said the union was waiting for the government to help negotiations progress. 

He said any industrial action measures would dependent on how the discussions proceed.  

The government and union will return to the Fair Work Commission on February 26.

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