Chris Minns pleads with NSW paramedics as pay dispute taken to Industrial Relations Commission

  • Published December 10, 2023
  • Industries, 10 December 2023

The NSW premier is pleading with the state’s paramedics to accept a massive pay increase and keep the state clear of a looming ‘catastrophe’.

Chris Minns is calling on NSW’s paramedics to accept a historic pay offer to keep triple-0 from going into “meltdown” and safeguarding the state’s emergency services system.

The NSW premier’s plea comes as the fight between the state’s paramedics and the government ramps up, and will go before the Industrial Relations Commission on Monday.

Negotiations with the Health Services Union stalled on Friday when the union rejected an average 19 per cent increase to take home pay — including base pay, penalties, and entitlements.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park on Saturday announced the matter will go before an IRC hearing at 2pm Monday in an effort to resolve the matter before New Year’s Eve.

If no agreement is reached, it’s feared more than 2100 paramedics wouldn’t be able to work on one of the busiest nights of the year for emergency services after they neglected to register as part of a boycott.

Mr Minns on Sunday warned that would send triple-0 into “meltdown” and that resolving the dispute was in everyone’s best interests.

“It would be catastrophic for emergency services in NSW,” he said.

“So we’re trying everything we can to forestall that, and that’s got to be the priority, between the union and the government, I know that there’s been hundreds of hours of negotiations.

“I want to break through. I think the people in NSW do as well. I think paramedics do as well. 

“We want to make sure we can get that money into their hands and keep paramedics in the system.”

The HSU rejected the offer on Friday because it says the latest offer would leave NSW paramedics being paid six per cent less than their Queensland counterparts.

However, the NSW government says the offer would put local paramedics on par with their northern neighbours.

Speaking at a media conference on Saturday, Mr Park said the union’s dismissal was unwarranted.

“We believe we put forward a strong offer and one that we think should have at least allowed paramedics to stay at the table to discuss any nuances or issues they may have had, but not have triple-zero threatened on the busiest night of the year,” he said.

“I certainly don’t believe this was an offer that should be completely dismissed, walked away from … I don’t think that that’s an appropriate course of action.”

The health minister called on the HSU to continue to engage in negotiations and said the state government was ready to come to the table.

“We want to get this resolved. We want to pay paramedics more,” he said.

Earlier this week, HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said the “workforce (was) crumbling” due to current wages.

“The inadequate offer we received this morning does not fix the problem. Under this proposal we will never catch up with Queensland. And that means paramedics will just keep leaving,” he said.

“More than 500 paramedics have left NSW in the last six months. Many hundreds more will leave in the next six months.”