Fight against the pay freeze – strategy and tactics

  • Published June 18, 2021
  • Industries

At this point, we are utilising a combination of industrial tactics to convince the MoH/Government that it’s cheaper to pay our very modest pay claim rather than to keep fighting. While at the same time leveraging community and media support. There are not many people in the community who are proud to say NSW has the lowest paid, highest injured paramedics and control centre officers in Australia. Obviously, decision makers who are also politicians are wary of taking us on if they know the community is behind us.

We are also leveraging political support and are pleased to have the NSW opposition making the fight for paramedic pay one of their top order issues to win back voters.

Starting yesterday, we have low level, ‘nuisance action’ designed to keep pressure on, while not tiring out members (don’t feel bad about nuisance action, think about the nuisance a pay freeze is every time you go to the supermarket). This continues to budget day on 22 June, where we up the ante. We telegraph that punch, increasing pressure on government who now have another countdown to contend with. They have less than a week to intervene or face another paramedic ‘strike’.

On budget day, we go hard for 24 hours, only responding to life threatening jobs (as a sign of good faith, & because the government has been listening positively to our claim this next day of action, we will also respond to 2Is). Anything below a 2I is banned for 24 hours.

The next day, the 23rd, we cease industrial action and move to a day of protest action, including a small rally at parliament house – either protesting a budget that let the state’s paramedic, control centre officers, and PTOs down, or celebrating achieving a modest pay claim, which is only a down payment for the main game: professional wages.

After that, we have another stop work, debrief how the past week went, and vote on another week of action.

Delegates are reporting that members are energised and have plenty of petrol in the tank. While ever members have petrol in the tank, the fight can last forever. We know this, the government knows this.
HSU PTOs (who started the fight with a full 24-hour strike), and HSU paramedic and control centre members should be proud to be leading the charge across the NSW public sector union movement against the pay freeze.

Keep up the great fight. Don’t forget to proudly sign on at the start of the shift by declaring you are HSU and are participating in the industrial action – it’s a good way to support newer members taking action for their first time, and it is definitely noticed by the MoH.

In unity,

Gerard Hayes, Secretary, HSU NSW/ACT/QLD