Health Services Union boss Gerard Hayes has confirmed the pay dispute for paramedics remains unresolved after late night discussions with the NSW Premier, as fears of a Triple-0 meltdown rises.
Health Services Union Secretary Gerard Hayes has called for more talks with the government to resolve an industrial dispute over pay for paramedics, confirming the issue remains unresolved despite discussions with the Premier.
Speaking to Sky News Australia on Tuesday, Mr Hayes said he and Chris Minns were able to have a “good discussion” on Monday night about the union’s demands for a sizable salary increase.
The HSU last Friday rejected the government’s proposal of a 19 per cent pay bump for paramedics over a four-year period, claiming the offer fell “drastically short” of where it needed to be.
The Triple-0 system is now at risk of going into meltdown over the Christmas period, with more than 2,000 paramedics pledging not to renew their professional registration for the new year.
The union is set to attend arbitration talks with senior NSW government officials on Tuesday ordered by the Industrial Relations Commission, but Mr Hayes was doubtful an agreement would be reached.
“We are in the Commission today and that will go on until such time as there is a recommendation, resolution or order,” he told First Edition host Peter Stefanovic.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think that is going to resolve anything.”
My Hayes suggested more discussions were needed with the “decision makers” in the government.
“I firmly believe that we should be sitting in a room tomorrow with all the decision makers and work this out,” he said.
“I think the only way forward is to get all the decision makers in a room, we stay in the room until such time as this is resolved.
“Tomorrow, if we start at 8am I would expect it will be resolved by 8pm at night.
“This is too important an issue for the people of NSW.”
The union boss said the state’s residents rely heavily on paramedics who, in turn, deeply care for them.
“At the moment paramedics are clearly leaving when you can get 20 per cent more in Queensland and they are also offering $20,000 bonus just to come there, it’s really tough,” Mr Hayes said.
“It is also paramedics saying that we have done all the courses, we are degree qualified, we have a huge scope of practice and yet we are paid as ambulance drivers.
“And they are not going to handle that anymore.”
Polling conducted by the HSU over the weekend found 23 per cent of those surveyed are planning to leave the service in the next six months, according to The Daily Telegraph.
More than 40 per cent are “seriously considering” ditching the profession.
Base pay for a first-year paramedic is estimated to be $74,109 per year.