Tough conditions for Ballarat workers and low pay trigger ambulance action

March 6, 2023 7:16 am in by
Victorian Ambulance Union

St. John Ambulance workers will begin strike action today over poor pay and conditions, with a focus on an unreasonable expectation of its Ballarat workers.

The action will be comprised of Victoria Ambulance Union (VAU) members, who say that negotiations for better pay and work conditions over 16 months has now reached an “impasse”.

Part of the stall has been the pay increase offer by St. John of $0.14c per hour for their Patient Transport Officers (PTO), an offer the VAU has described as “pathetic”.

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On top of this, the union alleges some full-time Ballarat and Geelong St. John Ambulance staff have been asked to complete a compulsory 16-hour on-call shift per fortnight above their regular hours.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the union describes St. John’s privately employed PTOs and Ambulance Transport Attendants (ATA) as the unsung heroes, transporting Covid infected patients under what they say were exhausting conditions, while being amongst the lowest paid in the industry.

It’s the first time Victorian union members will take industrial action against St. John’s and will include:

  • Ambulances returning to their home branch for meal breaks.           
  • Work stoppages to write in liquid chalk on ambulances.
  • Not starting work before the commencement of rostered shifts or at the end of their rostered shift (incidental overtime).
  • A ban on working “On-Call” shifts