Wellington Free Ambulance Suggests Pay Cut During First Responder Crisis
Bargaining between Wellington Free Ambulance and FIRST Union ambulance officers has been cut short by the employer following an effective offer of a 6% pay cut for frontline responders, and strike action is under consideration in the capital, said FIRST Union.
"Wellington Free Ambulance have offered their workers an effective 6% pay cut by suggesting a 1.5% increase to wages when the CPI (Consumer Price Index) is at 7.3%," said Faye McCann, FIRST Union National Ambulance Organiser.
"Following that insult, they ended our bargaining meetings after one day, ignored all of our members’ claims and used delay tactics to force ambulance officers to wait another ten weeks to get back to the negotiating table."
"Our members believe that WFA are waiting until their upcoming fundraising drive begins, but they are still not confident that any of those donations will find their way to frontline officers."
The Wellington Free Ambulance service is partially funded by a "Onesie Appeal", during which members of the public are encouraged to wear a onesie and fundraise for the capital’s sole ambulance service.
"With the #FireCrisis continuing, it’s clear that first responders like firefighters and ambulance officers aren’t being supported to do their jobs properly," said Ms McCann.
"The charity funding model is failing both patients and ambulance officers."
"Our emergency health services require well-trained and experienced ambulance officers, but low pay and difficult conditions mean many people are immediately turned off from the profession."
"The result is an underfunded and precarious ambulance service that simply can’t meet the demands of our population - we are teetering on the edge."
"Fixing that starts with keeping people in the job by paying them properly for what is one of the most challenging frontline professions in the country."
Ms McCann said Wellington Free Ambulance members had the right to strike during negotiations and were currently considering their industrial options.