Union boss confident of Minns’ intervention in paramedic pay stoush

  • Published December 12, 2023
  • Industries

Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December 2023

The powerful boss of the Health Services Union Gerard Hayes says he is confident Premier Chris Minns will intervene in the bitter paramedics’ pay dispute after an urgent meeting in Macquarie Street.

Hayes called Minns and organised the meeting in Parliament House on Monday evening after the premier earlier he would speak to the union boss “in a heartbeat” if it meant the stand-off, which could cripple the triple zero call network, could be resolved.

“It was a very good discussion,” Hayes told ABC Radio Sydney on Tuesday morning.

Hayes said no deal had been struck with Minns and there were still many issues to work though, but he was confident that the premier would be able to convince Treasurer Daniel Mookhey that the demands of the paramedics need to be met.
“I think it is time that either today or tomorrow we get all the decision-makers in the room, and we stay there until this is resolved, we are getting way too close to midnight and I think this needs to be done sooner rather than later,” Hayes said.

“There’s one boss at the end of the day, there’s one person who’s got the responsibility to the community to move forward and that is the premier. I think this is an opportunity for him to be able to bring his team together to get this fixed.”

Hayes said he did not raise a “face-to-face meeting” between the premier, treasurer and Health Minister Ryan Park in their phone call, but he texted Minns at 5am on Tuesday with the suggestion.

“The reality is, we cannot leave that room until this deal is done,” Hayes said.

Almost 2000 of NSW’s 6000 paramedics are threatening to withhold their professional registrations amid the failed pay negotiations. The paramedics will be legally unable to attend triple zero calls from January 1 if they do not apply for renewal.

The government has said that under its offer, first-year paramedic pay would increase by 11.4 per cent by July 2026. A sixth-year paramedic would receive a 25.8 per cent pay bump over the same period, government officials said.

Senior union officials disputed those numbers because the government’s figures were based on a paramedic’s take home pay, which includes penalties for overtime and allowances.