These bans have all been adhered to; however, the black ban on driving single 60 minutes or more has led to a small amount of conflict between members and frontline managers.
Our advice is invariably that an ADHSU member should always remind the manager that they are a union member, and that they are adhering to a ban. If the Ambulance Service has a problem with the bans, they can contact the union office. That is the normal way industrial disputes are dealt with. Again, no NSW health system employee can be disciplined for taking authorised industrial action.
We’d like to clarify a comment we made in a previous communication on the subject of bans. We reminded members that it is inappropriate for managers to attempt to persuade or order an individual union member taking action to breach bans by suggesting they are refusing duty.
We were referring to an incident between a line manager and an individual paramedic. Many ADHSU control centre members have contacted us to say that apart from when they are required to use the scripted ‘are you refusing duty’ in those rare times paramedics push back on the road, it is not their practice to put pressure on paramedics who are taking industrial action and will always accept a refusal based on union bans. They will put it in the notes and move on.
The end goal of unionism is always to fight as a united front against injustices in the workplace, such as the critically low resourcing levels in Ambulance that adversely affect every member whether they be metro, regional/rural, or in the control room. Practices utilised by the Service to try and divide and conquer its workforce should not be tolerated, especially when they diminish activity that has an overarching goal of improving worker and patient safety. They do it because they are scared of the strength of a united workforce. We have the power – it’s time to use it.
As usual, the above bans relate directly to a lack of resources and funding in NSW Ambulance. It’s important that union members across the Service do not get drawn into skirmishes with each other when the real enemy is a Treasury who prefer to pay themselves $60K bonuses than properly fund a busy emergency service.
There is a meeting about the bans with the Service coming up. ADHSU delegates will stand their ground and report back to you with developments.