Ambos dispute 'not about the money'

Bendigo paramedics in March this year.
Bendigo paramedics in March this year.

BENDIGO paramedics say the ongoing dispute with the state government is "not about the money" as they prepare to take part in 27 new industrial bans.

Ambulance Employees Australia will seek approval from the Fair Work Commission to put the bans to a members vote on Thursday.

The bans include allowing members of the media and politicians to ride with the ambulance crews and for team managers to release response data without Ambulance Victoria approval.

Up to 20 Bendigo paramedics will also travel to Melbourne on Friday to take part in a statewide rally in the CBD voicing their disapproval of the protracted EBA negotiations.

AEA Loddon-Mallee organiser Brett Adie said they were not going to compromise working conditions for the sake of a pay rise.

"Most paramedics are happy with what is being offered in terms of pay," he said.

"The problem is that they expect us to give something away.

"The conditions they are proposing mean paramedics could be sent anywhere. You could get a job in Bendigo but then get sent to anywhere in the state."

Mr Adie said Ambulance Victoria was also seeking to take away employees' rights to have a union official attend grievance meetings.

The 27 proposals drew a strong response from Victorian health minister David Davis, who labeled the union as "hard line", "dangerous" and "far left" during a speech to parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Davis said some of the actions, most of which seek to slow down the administrative functions of Ambulance Victoria, could put the public at risk.

"The union is working hard to ensure that no agreement is struck, despite more than 50 meetings with Ambulance Victoria," he said.

"We're offered the opportunity to prosecute through an independent arbiter, Fair Work, the process of 'work value'.

"That is what the union wanted, work value to be independently determined."

Mr Davis said some of the actions could leave certain regional centres without an ambulance for up to an hour at a time.


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