Union boss Gerard Hayes issues ultimatum to Premier Chris Minns to prevent Christmas paramedic meltdown

  • Published December 12, 2023
  • Industries

Daily Telegraph, 12 December 2023

Union head Gerard Hayes wants Chris Minns and decision-makers to lock-in a meeting tomorrow to sort out a pay deal and prevent a Christmas paramedic meltdown.

Powerful union boss Gerard Hayes has called on Premier Chris Minns and Treasurer Daniel Mookhey to lock themselves in a room with himself from 9am Wednesday to thrash out a pay agreement which would prevent thousands of paramedics walking off the job from New Year’s Day.

Mr Hayes, secretary of the Health Services Union, said he had messaged Mr Minns about the proposal early Tuesday morning, amid growing fears the triple-zero service could go into meltdown if 2000 paramedics refuse to renew their registration allowing them to attend emergency events.

“Today I’m calling on the government to get your decision makers together tomorrow (and) our union and selected representatives will meet with you at nine o’clock tomorrow morning. We’ll stay in that room until the deal is done,” he said.

“We’re getting closer to midnight every day. And it’s the union’s views that this matters need to be resolved today or tomorrow.”

Asked if his members were prepared for the likelihood that withholding their registrations could cause the death of patients needing critical treatment, Mr Hayes said: “Our members have death in their face daily they don’t take that lightly. That’s why we didn’t bring this issue out in the last 10 minutes. We brought this issue out in the last 18 months”.

The union and the NSW Government are set to go into binding arbitration on Tuesday afternoon in front of the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).

The commission will rule whether paramedics withholding their registration – which isn’t officially endorsed by the union – counts as industrial action, which could potentially force members to register.

Mr Hayes indicated the union would appeal that decision if that was the IRC’s finding.

HSU member and paramedic Tina said on Monday morning said the pay difference between NSW and Queensland was still tens of thousands of dollars. The government maintains their offer to the union would put the states on par for pay.

“(You get) $10,000 in your first week, you get another $10,000 four months later, in terms of the difference in pay its astronomical … we’re on $79,000. That’s what our retirement is based on.”