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The AEAWA response to the Clinically Appropriate Model of Care Document

To view the CAMC document with added information from your AEAWA Committee please click here. We urge all officers to truly understand the serious ramifications these proposed changes have for our profession and the people of Western Australia.

The 2021 Paramedics/Ambulance Officers EBA Negotiations Team

John Thomas – AEAWA President

Donelle Carver – AEAWA Vice President

Lee Waller – AEAWA Secretary

Dave Higgins – AEAWA Executive

Dave Abbott – AEAWA Delegate

Michael Hardwick – AEAWA  Delegate

Gary Davies – AEAWA County (North) Delegate

Dave Bryant – AEAWA Country (South ) Delegate



Conrad Fairhead – AEAWA Delegate

Marty Kelly – AEAWA Treasurer

Jon Flockton – AEAWA County (South) Delegate

Paramedic EBA negotiations commence February 24

Your AEAWA committee is well versed in industrial negotiations and have a strong and set mandate from the membership.

Standing together through the negotiations

As a collective entity the AEAWA urges all members to stand together and view the information that will be located here. This will be a big EBA and your committee is more than up for the challenge.

Keep up to date

All members should regularly check their emails, the AEAWA website and AEAWA FaceBook page for current information relating to the EBA

Actions to be undertaken

There are no current actions

2022 Fair Work Commission EBA Minutes

8th April, 2022 -Fair Work Commission EBA Meeting 5

The 5th Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations with the Fair Work Commission Deputy President
09:30-15:45 on March 1, 2022

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Dave Higgins and Mike Hardwick.

Today your delegates took part in a session facilitated by the Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission, along with senior executives from St John WA, and delegates from UWU.

This was at times a challenging and difficult session.

Some of you may have guessed from our recent communications that the AEAWA had instructed it’s lawyers to prepare and submit an application to Fair Work for a ‘Protected Action Ballot Order’ (PABO).

A PABO is a legal requirement to hold ANY organised Industrial Action.

The primary reason for industrial action from the AEAWA’s perspective, was the complete refusal of St John WA to even discuss our ‘Metropolitan Crew Formation’ clause, which we had tabled over nearly 15 months ago. Many of the other clauses are in fact close to agreement.

The Crew Formation Clause seeks to protect current crew makeup in metropolitan Perth, and therefore prevent a future model of Paramedic & Driver/First Aider/EHS, which has clearly been on the agenda of senior leadership since 2018. While we may have to tolerate certain extraordinary crew mixes during a State of Emergency (like our colleagues interstate) we are committed to prevent these crew mixes becoming normal ‘business as usual’. This clause also sought to restrict single officer clinical duties to ensure employee safety, and to limit/restrict the use of AO/AO crews (unless under extreme circumstances, such as Public Health state of Emergency, but even then our draft clause would include reasonable steps which must be exhausted first).

At this session, St John WA legal team made assertions that employment groups have continually “moved the goalposts” and that they are having to “bargain against themselves”, the implication being that we are not “bargaining in good faith”. This is a serious claim as ‘bargaining in good faith’ is one of the key principles underpinning the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), which governs the necessary behaviours of parties. Should a party feel there is a ‘lack’ of good faith bargaining, they can apply under the Act for a ‘Bargaining Order’. Needless to say this is completely untrue.

Despite this assertion being vigorously rebutted by bargaining groups, it was made abundantly clear in this session by the Deputy President that in the current state of negotiations a PABO (Industrial Action) would most likely NOT be supported by Fair Work. Unfortunately, the situation is that Industrial Action requires the satisfaction of Fair Work on a number of technical issues in order to be approved.

Despite this setback (at this stage at least) the AEAWA achieved an enormous win today by convincing the Deputy President just how important this Crew Formation clause is to our membership. The Deputy President was informed that this is a ‘die in the ditch’ claim for us to support/recommend an Offer at any future ballot. The Deputy President in turn ‘persuaded’ St John WA that a clause governing crew formation SHOULD go into the Agreement, despite St John having refused to even discuss it for 14 months, until today.

This in itself is enormous step forward.

What remains to be seen is whether the parties can agree upon wording for a Crew Formation Clause. Parties have been requested to submit their draft clauses, for the Deputy President to compare 3 clauses side by side. We will then have another Fair Work facilitated session on 19th April.

The AEAWA still need all the Bargaining Representative Nomination Forms as a matter of priority, for while protected industrial action may have suffered a setback, a PABO application may yet prove necessary if we cannot reach agreement on the wording of this clause. We will continue – as we have done since the outset – to follow the principles of good faith bargaining. Often that means our communications are necessarily tempered, so that it cannot be alleged that we are inciting dissent or unauthorised action. We will of course, endeavour to keep our membership as informed as we legally can.

Thank you to the 600+ Paramedic/Ambulance Officer members who have already completed the ‘Bargaining Representative Nomination form’, we are still waiting on a couple of hundred, so please understand we may need to contact some of you again. We also apologise for multiple emails on the matter, our system was suffering a ‘glitch’.

——- End bargaining update ——-


Our lawyers are working on this as we speak as we have instructed them to try and find an avenue to file for a breach of the Agreement.

Our ‘lay’ opinion (pending formal legal advice) is that despite the good ol’ ‘subject to operational requirements’ is that St John WA should be able to demonstrate how a decision to cite ‘operational requirements’ is ‘reasonable’. In our opinion it’s not just a catch all ‘because we’ve decided’ phrase, but one in which St John WA should be able to demonstrate that all other reasonable options were implemented to mitigate the need to suspend a lawful entitlement under a Certified Agreement.

We think that ‘reasonable’ mitigation steps would be:
Stop knocking back members asking for overtime (yes still happens)
Critical worker implementation to stop unnecessary furlough
Managers with current Registration paired to form a crew
Sub contract sporting event coverage to competitors
Temporary financial bonus for OT while BCP active

St John WA do not appreciate that our members have lives outside of work and may have important family, social, medical events that they MUST attend. Suspending Special Leave is an inconsiderate and out of touch decision by senior executives. As numerous psychological reports into the culture at St John have documented, difficulty in accessing leave is one of the biggest barriers to self care, psychological health, and fatigue.

We will do our utmost best to fight this.

6th March, 2022 -Fair Work Commission EBA Meeting 4

The 4th Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations with the Fair Work Commission Deputy President
09:30-15:45 on March 1, 2022

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Lee Waller, Dave Higgins, Mike Hardwick, Conrad Fairhead and Dave Abbott.

Yesterday afternoon your bargaining representatives met with St John to discuss our claim regarding our proposal to introduce a clause which would define acceptable ‘Metropolitan Crew Formation’, thereby addressing both AO/AO crewing and safe restrictions on Single Officer clinical duties.

Why is this important?
The obvious concern here is that if not restricted, Ambulance Officer crewing can develop into a rebranded ‘Clinical Appropriate Model of Care’. This CAMC model was universally rejected by bargaining groups over 12 months ago as a model which would devalue the profession of Paramedicine and put significant downward pressure on Paramedic wages. Once established, both the CAMC and/or AO-AO crewing could rapidly become the normal crew mix which would grow to overtake Paramedic crewed ambulances. It’s no secret that St John think the Ambulance Paramedic classification is too expensive. The CAMC model wanted to limit the wage to the AO Grade 2 salary bracket. No surprise then that the AO model will see 000 calls responded by employees on AO wages. It is our position that the profession of Paramedicine is more than just the qualification. It is a combination of tertiary clinical education coupled with practical hands on experience and the honing of clinical decision ability, gained while working in a supervised environment with an experienced Ambulance Paramedic. Under the AO-AO model, St John insist that they can send (on paper at least) a ‘Registered Paramedic’ to a job, but earning AO wages.

St John were informed that we will not accept the long term use of AO-AO crew mix. The AEAWA are aware that the east coast has seen a variety of ‘surge’ staff measures and crew variation implemented as COVID surges occur. We are also aware that St John have recruited heavily in the last 12 months and have a current imbalance of staff. With this in mind, we have indicated to St John that we would consider, cautiously, discussions regarding safe TEMPORARY, time limited crewing measures that may be required for the impending COVID-19 surge. But like our Victorian Ambulance colleagues with whom we work closely, we want concrete, indisputable written assurance that any COVID surge measures will be unwound as soon as possible. We also insist on an appropriate clause that defines acceptable crew mix going forward, and will not move on that.

In respect to single officer clinical duties, all Ambulance Officers within St John undergo a standard training package which is entirely oriented around and focused upon ‘crew’ based ambulance duties. Everything from reversing a vehicle, to medication checks to operating a Ferno stretcher is defined in terms of a crew, and typically specifies two employees. Most SOP’s within St John make specific instructions which cannot be safely complied with, as a single officer (i.e. ‘the patient must not be left unattended’).
Despite this, St John have responded to pressures within the system by seeking to extract ever more productivity from employees, and have decided that single officers can now perform a range of duties that had previously been considered unsafe.

At each time we have challenged the safety of such deployments, or other violations of their own Ramping and Patient Flow SOP, St John have re-written the SOP to retrospectively permit their actions. We have continually argued that it is unsafe for a single officer to care for patients who may be unpredictable, violent, or confused. Frail and elderly patients often need frequent toileting, and can pose a falls risk and constitute a lifting hazard to a single officer. Hospital staff have a range of systems and other health professionals nearby to assist with managing things like breaks and patient toileting. St John employees do not have easy access to these systems, and may be left on their own for hours.

We have continually requested that St John confirm if a risk assessment for single officer clinical ramping duties has been done, and to disclose any guidance from Clinical Governance in respect to the clinical management of ramped patients by a single officer. None of these requests has ever been forthcoming. There have been instances where two officers of compatible makeup to form an ambulance crew (and respond to patients in the community), have been instead tasked to work in two separate emergency departments to care for patients in the department.

Sometimes our work in the community is delayed as we progress through the ED. St John call this ‘delayed transfer of care’. Despite this fact, and it’s increasing frequency, it is our view that the primary role of ‘Ambulance Paramedics’ and ‘Ambulance Officers’ is in ambulances, not in hospital corridors. Having your ‘community based’ ambulance work ‘delayed’ in the ED is, in our opinion, entirely different to being sent to work in an ED at the start of your shift. That is a different job than what we applied for, and that kind of change in role must be voluntary.

The move towards the normalisation of single officer clinical duties has been gradual, with the boundaries of what is safe and what is ‘acceptable’ being pushed further with each revision of SOP. Such incremental change can seem inconsequential at the time, but over many years we may find ourselves working an entirely different job. Our argument is this; working a role which is different to the role to which you applied for and where trained for (that of a ambulance crew member) should be optional, and compensated by, at the very least, an ‘extra duties allowance’. In our opinion it constitutes a change of job description. If working alone in an emergency department is expected of an employee, they should be provided with appropriate training to conduct hospital based care, but also should be provided with appropriate clinical guidance, appropriate equipment, appropriate risk assessments, and appropriate breaks.

We have put this idea forward to St John, and explained that such a model involving an EOI for such duties, would be the only ‘single officer usage’ we would accept, and only if followed by appropriate training and support via policy/guideline/equipment. Surprisingly, St John have indicated interest with this concept and are willing to move forward to consider developing an EOI for single officer clinical duties. We have also encouraged St John to utilise after hours ICB requests to better utilise single officers,. which we hope will have the added benefit of supporting the 224 crews at night.

Equipment Checks
Discussions only briefly touched upon this issue, but we have reaffirmed that our claim is for either 15 minutes double time payment or an allowance equivalent. We have insisted that this is payable regardless of any allocation of a job, and regardless of ‘log in time’ so long as the officer is at work, and performing the critical checks required to start work.

1st March, 2022 -Fair Work Commission EBA Meeting 3

The 3rd Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations with the Fair Work Commission Deputy President
09:30-15:45 on March 1, 2022

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Lee Waller, Dave Higgins, Mike Hardwick, Conrad Fairhead and Dave Abbott.

The AEAWA negotiation team met with St John WA this morning in compliance with Directions issued by Deputy President Beaumont of the FWC, to conduct a rapid series of negotiation meetings and to either work towards an agreement or to reach final positions.

The purpose of these meetings is to try and progress discussions as far as possible and, failing agreement on a topic, for each party to offer their ‘best possible final position’ as a starting point for the Deputy President assist with resolving any sticking points. The topic of today’s meeting was Pre-Shift Equipment Checks (i.e. Unpaid work).

The following is an outline of the main positions in respect of this claim:

AEAWA position:
For far too long, employees have performed unpaid work prior to each and every shift. This is done because employees know they can and will be dispatched to life threatening emergencies immediately upon the commencement of their shift. It is worth noting that there are roughly 300 items of stock in an ambulance, not to mention the safe S8 check, the electronic ‘Daily Check’ form, vehicle checks, response bag checks, and Corpuls checks etc This time should be paid.

It is our position that the organisation places undue pressure on employees to ‘be ready’ immediately at the commencement of shift, and this implied expectation results in unpaid work. Pressure comes in the form of immediate dispatch, or the potential for immediate dispatch as soon as a shift starts. Our members want to feel their vehicle, equipment and medication is in order, to offer optimal care. Knowing they can be dispatched at 0700, they arrive early and perform essential checks in their own time.

The AEAWA initially proposed a clause which would entitle employees to 15 minutes of paid time, at overtime rates, for each shift. The clause highlighted that a crew would NOT be operational during this time, unless they choose to take over from the off-going shift. To avoid any extension of the normal shift hours, we proposed to introduce an ‘equipment check allowance’ into the Agreement, instead of varying ‘hours of work’.

The allowance would be the equivalent of 15 minutes at overtime rates. This would recognise that the vast majority of employees do in fact arrive early for work, and will most likely continue to do so, to ensure public safety through essential checks. An allowance would mean minimum disruption to working conditions, hours of work, and crew handover across shifts. It is our position that an ‘allowance’ would recognise that work is being performed, and seems the most simple and least disruptive solution to compensate  employees for unpaid work, without interrupting delivery of the 000 service.

St John position:
St John’s position is simply. They believe that there is no expectation that crews should arrive early and perform unpaid work. St John are happy for crews to commence work exactly at 0700, and perform medication checks and vehicle and equipment checks after their shift begins. They deny that there is any pressure to arrive for work early, and St John indicated that they could look into ‘staggered starts’ to help alleviate the dispatch of crews immediately at the start of shift. However, it is the AEAWA’s position that staggered starts will not in ANY way alleviate unpaid work. Whether crews start at 0630, 0700, 0730, 0800; if the expectation is that a job can still come in at the commencement of shift, employees will still feel obligated and pressured to arrive early for work to perform shifts in unpaid time. We would completely reject any proposal to change to shift times that is not agreed by a crew.

After a brief adjournment, St John returned with a new proposal. Under their new draft clause, 15 minutes of overtime would be paid in the event a crew accepts a case within 5 minutes after the start of their shift (i.e. between 0700-0705). The AEAWA are sceptical of this proposal as it will only compensate an employee for unpaid work on those occasions when a job is received, not for all other other shifts where people have arrived early for work and have performed checks to guarantee the capacity to respond.

The AEAWA have suggested a new counter proposal. Under this model, should a crew have completed their checks prior to the start of shift (which typically the vast majority of employees already do, unpaid) and they choose to log in before shift start time (i.e before 0654 for a 0700 start), they would automatically receive 15 minutes pay at overtime rates. This would be entirely optional. This compromise recognises that some employees may be unable or unwilling to arrive prior to shift start but also compensates the majority of employees who already do this work in their own time, for free. Under this model, there would be no change to normal operating business, except crews can choose to perform checks prior to shift start, and in future be paid accordingly for it.

St John are considering our feedback, and the feedback of UWU who are seeking St John to clarify a quantum of uninterrupted time after the start of a shift, for the performance of essential checks. This is a complicated issue with multiple different positions in bargaining, but both AEAWA and UWU are aligned that the practice of unpaid work should end.

The next meeting will be on Friday 4th March and this meeting concerns ‘Single Officer’ clinical duties, but will likely also broaden to a discussion on Ambulance Officer crews.

21st February, 2022 -Fair Work Commission EBA Meeting 2

The 2nd Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations with the Fair Work Commission Deputy President
09:30-15:45 on February 21, 2022

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Lee Waller, Dave Higgins and Mike Hardwick.

The AEAWA negotiation team met with St John WA this morning in compliance with Directions issued by Deputy President Beaumont of the FWC, to conduct a rapid series of negotiation meetings and to either work towards an agreement or to reach final positions. The purpose of these meetings is to try and progress discussions as far as possible and, failing agreement on a topic, for each party to offer their ‘best possible final position’ as a starting point for the Deputy President assist with resolving any sticking points.

The topic of today’s meeting was Pre-Shift Equipment Checks (i.e. Unpaid work). The following is an outline of the main positions in respect of this claim:

AEAWA position:
For far too long, employees have performed unpaid work prior to each and every shift. This is done because employees know they can and will be dispatched to life threatening emergencies immediately upon the commencement of their shift. It is worth noting that there are roughly 300 items of stock in an ambulance, not to mention the safe S8 check, the electronic ‘Daily Check’ form, vehicle checks, response bag checks, and Corpuls checks etc. This time should be paid.

It is our position that the organisation places undue pressure on employees to ‘be ready’ immediately at the commencement of shift, and this implied expectation results in unpaid work. Pressure comes in the form of immediate dispatch, or the potential for immediate dispatch as soon as a shift starts. Our members want to feel their vehicle, equipment and medication is in order, to offer optimal care. Knowing they can be dispatched at 0700, they arrive early and perform essential checks in their own time.

The AEAWA initially proposed a clause which would entitle employees to 15 minutes of paid time, at overtime rates, for each shift. The clause highlighted that a crew would NOT be operational during this time, unless they choose to take over from the off-going shift. To avoid any extension of the normal shift hours, we proposed to introduce an ‘equipment check allowance’ into the Agreement, instead of varying ‘hours of work’.

The allowance would be the equivalent of 15 minutes at overtime rates. This would recognise that the vast majority of employees do in fact arrive early for work, and will most likely continue to do so, to ensure public safety through essential checks. An allowance would mean minimum disruption to working conditions, hours of work, and crew handover across shifts. It is our position that an ‘allowance’ would recognise that work is being performed, and seems the most simple and least disruptive solution to compensate  employees for unpaid work, without interrupting delivery of the 000 service.

St John position:
St John’s position is simply. They believe that there is no expectation that crews should arrive early and perform unpaid work. St John are happy for crews to commence work exactly at 0700, and perform medication checks and vehicle and equipment checks after their shift begins. They deny that there is any pressure to arrive for work early, and St John indicated that they could look into ‘staggered starts’ to help alleviate the dispatch of crews immediately at the start of shift.

However, it is the AEAWA’s position that staggered starts will not in ANY way alleviate unpaid work. Whether crews start at 0630, 0700, 0730, 0800; if the expectation is that a job can still come in at the commencement of shift, employees will still feel obligated and pressured to arrive early for work to perform shifts in unpaid time. We would completely reject any proposal to change to shift times that is not agreed by a crew.

After a brief adjournment, St John returned with a new proposal. Under their new draft clause, 15 minutes of overtime would be paid in the event a crew accepts a case within 5 minutes after the start of their shift (i.e. between 0700-0705). The AEAWA are sceptical of this proposal as it will only compensate an employee for unpaid work on those occasions when a job is received, not for all other other shifts where people have arrived early for work and have performed checks to guarantee the capacity to respond.

The AEAWA have suggested a new counter proposal. Under this model, should a crew have completed their checks prior to the start of shift (which typically the vast majority of employees already do, unpaid) and they choose to log in before shift start time (i.e before 0654 for a 0700 start), they would automatically receive 15 minutes pay at overtime rates. This would be entirely optional. This compromise recognises that some employees may be unable or unwilling to arrive prior to shift start but also compensates the majority of employees who already do this work in their own time, for free. Under this model, there would be no change to normal operating business, except crews can choose to perform checks prior to shift start, and in future be paid accordingly for it.

St John are considering our feedback, and the feedback of UWU who are seeking St John to clarify a quantum of uninterrupted time after the start of a shift, for the performance of essential checks. This is a complicated issue with multiple different positions in bargaining, but both AEAWA and UWU are aligned that the practice of unpaid work should end.

The next meeting will be on Friday 4th March and this meeting concerns ‘Single Officer’ clinical duties, but will likely also broaden to a discussion on Ambulance Officer crews.

9th February, 2022 -Fair Work Commission EBA Meeting 1

The 1st Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations with the Fair Work Commission Deputy President
09:30-13:45 on February 9, 2022

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Lee Waller, Dave Higgins and Mike Hardwick.

Committee Apologies
No Apologise

The Discussion 
Today AEAWA delegates participated in a teleconference established by the Fair Work Commission in relation to matter B2022/58 under the direction of Deputy President Beaumont. The Deputy President heard introductory statements from all three parties to the negotiation, and noted a disparity in the number of outstanding claims reported. St John have reported 5 issues, whereas the AEAWA have 10 items over which we remain in disagreement.

The Deputy President recommended that an initial meeting take place this week to formulate a definitive claim list, followed by a series of frequent meetings to take place over the next 3 weeks in an attempt attempt to reach a compromise or in any event to formulate a ‘final position’ for each claim. Failing any progress across these meetings the

Deputy President (FWC) indicated that she will become more actively involved in negotiations.

AEAWA are listed as the first respondent to this application and have outlined our outstanding claims as below:
1. Meal Breaks
2. Reasonable Overtime/Shift Extensions
3. Single Officer duties
4. Pre-Shift checks (i.e unpaid work)
5. Secondments
6. Progression Policy – Recruitment
7. On-Road Tutor allowance
8. Introduction of change – Dispute Resolution
9. Composition of crew formation (AO crews)
10. Wage and allowance increase

Your negotiation team are committed to the good faith bargaining process and agree to this initial series of meetings with a view to achieving an amenable outcome for our members, while ensuring conditions are improved and protected wherever possible.

Thank you for your patience and support over this protracted period.

2021 EBA Minutes

17th November, 2021 - EBA Meeting 26 Minutes

The 26th Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations
09:30-15:45 on November 17, 2021

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Donelle Carver, Lee Waller, Dave Higgins, Mike Hardwick, Dave Bryant, Dave Abbott and Conrad Fairhead.

Committee Apologies
No Apologise

Today saw the 26th full day of negotiations between SJA and bargaining groups. The short summary is, we seem to have hit an impasse on most of our remaining critical issues including reasonable overtime, meals breaks, and vehicle checks etc, and St John have refused to move on their 1.5%, 1.5%, 1.75% pay offer.

Night shift allowance
The AEAWA reiterated their claim for additional payments for shifts which fall on a Friday or Saturday night. Our members will recall that the AEAWA have a claim for increasing the night shift shift payment from $80 to $100 on Friday night, and from $80 to $200 on a Saturday night, linked to the completion of their full set of rostered shifts.
St John are reluctant to commit a large financial sum to a strategy which they feel may not work at enticing people to attend rostered weekend night shifts. There seems to be no appetite to support officers working night shifts, and St John seem not to be interested in this model.

Reasonable Overtime
Negotiators restated our position. Every day in this ambulance service, crews incur overtime which is indisputably ‘unreasonable’, in the form of long distance P3/P4 transfers and ramping. It is still a common occurrence that certain Duty Managers refuse to send takeover crews to relieve ramped crews. The AEAWA are in no doubt that the inclusion of a definition of reasonable overtime would be supported by the Fair Work Commission, and while we are willing to negotiate some of the fine print of the wording to ensure a workable and meaningful clause, we are 100% committed to ensuring this clause is included in the final document. St John indicated a strong reluctance to introduce this clause, the tone was far from encouraging.

Meal Breaks
St John claimed that scheduled meal breaks would be completely unworkable, and they could not facilitate them. AEAWA reminded St John that we are the only ambulance service in Australia which does not have scheduled meal breaks. AEAWA highlighted the unsanitary practice of eating in the front of the ambulance, because officers do not have allocated breaks to eat in a suitable location. St John have refused to move on this.

On Road Tutor allowance
Last week St John agreed to increase the On Road Tutor allowance to $35 per shift. We have stood firm on our claim to pay 1 x (hourly rate) to the applicable tutor, which we feel is reasonable compensation for working with junior officers on log books, who are increasingly rushed through shorter induction schools, are unable to drive Priority 1, and who may require direct supervision for 11-13 hours. St John have refused to move further.

Single Officer duties
The AEAWA are adamant that our proposed restrictions on single officer clinical duties promotes both patient safety and the safety of our members. In our opinion, single officer clinical duties require a specific training and selection process; a process which has not been provided or applied to our ambulance paramedic cohort. There has been no risk assessment on such deployments, and the organisation does not provide appropriate clinical guidelines nor the appropriate equipment and training for officers to be deployed alone. Our proposed clause is ‘unless by agreement between St John and the officer’ and so officers who feel confident and comfortable to undertake a patient care by themselves can agree to do so. St John refused to include this clause into the Enterprise Agreement.

Equipment checks
Discussion took place regarding St John’s newly proposed clause which is offered as a solution to the protracted discussions over vehicle checks. The clause is a significant concession from St John, who had thus far refused to place anything relating to equipment and vehicle checks in to the agreement. The essence of the clause is that a crew will not be expected to respond until they have completed a minimum of an ‘emergency’ check, and that the crew will be afforded an opportunity to perform a thorough check as soon as practicable. This clause, unfortunately, will not compensate officers for any time they feel obligated to spend checking vehicles PRIOR to the commencement of their shift. We still believe that the practice of attending work early to check vehicles will continue as before, because our members are committed to offering the best response to the community, and they know the organisation can and will task them to attend a case immediately at the commencement of their shift. The AEAWA are considering our options in this respect. As usual, we thank our members for their continued support and we welcome feedback on [email protected]

All Leave claims
Leave claims have been agreed in principle predominantly through the addition of:
– 2 additional days of personal/sick leave
– Increase in Special Leave availability from 6% to 7%
– Reduced blackout periods for Special Leave
– Increased ability to have 96 hours positive Special Leave, 48 hours negative
– Increase in Defence Service Leave from 4 day to 8 days
– SAO exam Special Leave guarantee or alternate shift guarantee
– Option of Annual Leave at half pay

This rounds up the summary for today’s meeting. As always, please feel free to comment or contact us privately on [email protected] with feedback.

The next meeting will be on 22nd November 2021 9.30am

Kind regards

AEAWA Negotiation Team

10th November, 2021 - EBA Meeting 25 Minutes

The 25th Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations
09:30-15:45 on November 10, 2021

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Donelle Carver, Lee Waller, Dave Higgins, Mike Hardwick, Dave Bryant, Dave Abbott and Conrad Fairhead.

Committee Apologies
No Apologise

Today your negotiation team met with SJA for the first time in 3 weeks, with the previous 2 meetings having been cancelled following our clarification letter to SJA regarding our interest or lack thereof in the ‘Transport Medic’ model. This was the 25 th full day of negotiations. SJA sought clarification as to whether our claims for the publication of a list of officers in each secondment pool to be published on the intranet, and our claim for whether a FAIR return to work process following injury remain on the table. The answer to both items is yes.

SJA provided a draft revised clause which would formalise the ability for country officers to work on-road shifts in metro (for the purposes of skills maintenance), while in Perth for CEP attendance. This practice has been happening haphazardly for a number of years but this new clause should more reliably guarantee this opportunity for Country officers who wish to undertake it.

Pre-shift checks
Some spirited discussion took place today regarding pre-shift checks. St John have revised wording in a proposed pre-shift check clause which seems to offer some limited
assurance that they be supported if responding to an 000 call at the start of their shift, while having only performed an ‘emergency Check’. St John state that in such circumstances they will deem the employee to have acted to a reasonable and professional standard in their response to the call. The wording however, is not as unequivocal nor as assuring as we would like. We seem to be going around in circles, and as we have relayed to members previously, this claim has morphed into something quite different from how it began. It started as a claim for PAID TIME to complete vehicle, mediation and equipment checks, noting that the vast majority of our workforce arrive at their depot BEFORE their rostered time, and sign out their medication and perform Corpuls checks PRIOR to the commencement of our shift. It has been diluted and pushed into a vague Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which still places responsibility onto officers completing checks, and onto the last crew to use the vehicle.

Today we reiterated the origins of our claim, and indicated that the Fair Work Ombudsman may well interpret as ‘implied’ the expectation for staff to arrive prior to their shift, when faced with a long list of items to check AND the expectation to be operational for the ‘duration of their shift’. Now clearly aware of our commitment to this issue, SJA returned from the break and agreed to formulate an actual binding EA clause (rather than an SOP) which will permit staff to complete checks at the commencement of their shift, and the crew will only be considered operational once their emergency checks are complete, which they can indicate by logging in to AmbiCAD. Clearly this will have operational implications, but we will need to see the clause before further comment can be made.

Pay Raise
SJA requested both bargaining groups outline their expectations for the eventual pay rise associated with this EA. Traditionally this is something that happens at the end of the negotiations when the vast majority of matters have been negotiated. The current offer is 1.5% from SJA, with both bargaining groups seeking a pay rise of 2.5% per annum.
UWU delegates outlined a potential final position, which in exchange for a 2% pay rise per annum and some final aspects relating to their remaining claims, they would be willing to form an agreement in principle. The AEAWA negotiation team are not that easily satisfied, and responded that it is impossible to indicate a percentage quantum at this stage given that many important AEAWA claims remain unsettled, including claims for reasonable overtime, restrictions on single officer duties, on-road tutor allowance, meal breaks, weekend night shift penalties and pre-shift checks (pending the above EA clause). Like our other claims, there remains room for negotiation in respect to our pay claim, however, without movement on many of the key issues above, we will not fix a final value on our pay claim at this stage.

Once SJA were reminded of these remaining claims from AEAWA, a short recess in proceedings saw SJA agree to increase the On Road Tutor allowance to $35 per day (nearly double its current value) and increase the Health & Wellbeing allowance by 10% to $550 per annum. St John also indicated that the increase in On Road Tutor would be mirrored in the Working with Volunteers allowance which would increase to $35 per shift. We will need some time to digest these concessions but our initial impression is that we remain committed to our revised On Road Tutor claim (1 x hourly rate of the tutor per shift e.g AP1 $38.61, AP2 $40.65, AP3$42.70) St John were also reminded that it was the same workforce currently being offered a 1.5% pay rise, who in fact supported the organisation with JobKeeper applications, which resulted in over $15 million in JobKeeper payments from the federal government.

As usual, we thank our members for their continued support and we welcome feedback. Please let us know your thoughts below or on [email protected]

3rd November, 2021 - EBA Meeting 25 Minutes (cancelled)

For the second week running SJWA have cancelled the negotiations. This week seems to be partly correlated to our response to Antony Smithson dated 28th October.
“To provide the opportunity for St John to consider the information provided by AEAWA and UWU and understand our position this week’s Paramedic EA meeting will not be held and there will be no release of delegates this Wednesday”

Recently St John announced that they intend to have different conditions of work for Station Managers in the South West metro zone, versus Station managers on all other ‘zones’. As part of the Metropolitan Management Model ‘pilot’, held in the South West, Station Managers were tasked with obtaining a P8 card for periods up to 3 hours every set of 4 shifts to perform their normal administrative duties. This, as you can imagine, had a significant impact on an already poor standby capacity. All other Station Managers across metro continued to perform their duties as per longstanding per custom and practice, on overtime.

Despite the fact that the ‘pilot’ actually finished on 25th March 2021 when Executive Director Ambulance Operations Deon Brink announced the approval and roll out of the Zone model, it appears that St John intend to keep Station Managers in South West on one system, while having absolutely NO a intention to roll out the same conditions to elsewhere.


The AEAWA executive completely object to the evolution of different employment conditions in different zones. This is exactly the sort of divide and conquer tactic St John would love to achieve, through developing different conditions and practices in different zones, we can become splintered and weak. Officers may become unsure of their actual conditions and workplace rights, with changes introduced under the guise of ‘pilot’ or ‘trial’ and only applicable within their ‘zone’. We have written to St John to remind them that the trial is finished. Further, participation in the trial was originally optional.

We have advised SJWA that ALL station managers in metro, regardless of ‘zone’, have a defacto term of employment based on longstanding custom and practice, which entitles them to claim any incurred overtime for the performance of their administrative duties. ALL AFFECTED STATION MANAGERS WITH AEAWA HAVE BEEN CONTACTED AND ADVISED OF THE ABOVE.

Should SM overtime which has been incurred and claimed in the South West zone NOT BE PAID the AEAWA will lodge a formal dispute for underpayment.

If you have any questions, please contact us on [email protected]

20th October, 2021 - EBA Meeting 24 Minutes

The 24th Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations
09:30-15:45 on October 20, 2021

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Donelle Carver, Lee Waller, Dave Higgins, Mike Hardwick, Dave Bryant, Dave Abbott and Conrad Fairhead.

Committee Apologies
Dave Abbott

This meeting with St John management was the 24th full day of negotiation. Today’s agenda followed a slightly different structure. At the request of the AEAWA, all claims were numbered and we progressed through the ‘claim costing bank’ one item at a time to confirm each party’s position. This will also help to structure future meetings as it enables us to move sequentially through unresolved items in turn, in hopes of reaching agreement. The following is a short summary of what was discussed.

4X4 rotational roster position
It would appear that last week’s discussion on the 4X4 roster may have created more confusion than it addressed. This morning’s meeting identified that the various parties had gone away from the last meeting with a different view on each other’s position. This was highlighted by an email summary from our Ambulance Director, which the bargaining groups did not feel accurately reflected each party’s position at the end of the last meeting. The email summary issued by our Ambulance Director indicated that the “AEAWA and UWU do not support this proposal in its current form” when in fact we had been actively engaged in negotiations and presented various different workable solutions to SJA.
To be clear, our main objection to the initial proposal from St John was that it would effectively eliminate all opportunity for officers on 224 to have any respite from nights, as it would lock a set cohort of officers onto this pattern and thus remove all opportunity for remaining 224 staff to have rosters off night shift.

Today we clarified our position to St John. The AEAWA indicated that we are completely open to a mechanism which allows officers to be rostered to 4X4, so long as the process is fair and transparent, and provides all 224 officers a fair opportunity. We suggested that St John think about a way in which they can manage this process which is fair and transparent. If this could be done we would be happy to discuss the proposal further. However, after a short break, SJA indicated that upon further reflection they feel they would be unable to introduce a workable 4X4 cohort within the term of the agreement, and are now indicating they will likely withdraw this claim.  Luckily your negotiation team are not of a sceptical mind, otherwise we may have concluded from this hasty retreat that SJA had an ulterior motive in moving a number of officers permanently onto 4X4 roster, which was not entirely motivated by covering short notice book offs. Hmm.

Start of Shift Vehicle and Medication Checks
Significant discussion took place regarding the start of shift checks claim, which, as discussed last week began as a ‘pre-shift’ checks claim but has deteriorated into a debate about the details of an SOP. St John’s new and upgraded position is that their Professional Indemnity insurance is sufficient. However St John’s insurance neither indemnifies, nor support’s officers against de-registration by AHPRA. Nor will it help officers, if through the action of following one instruction to attend a case urgently, they contravene a different Policy which requires minimum checks. Our experience as your Employee Representatives is that (unfortunately) St John have a proven track record of forming an early opinion of misconduct and are quite adept at finding a policy that you didn’t even know existed, to which you are found ‘on the balance of probabilities” to be in breach.

The AEAWA position remains unchanged, we want the organisation to commit in writing to support their employees if they are dispatched to a case with insufficient time to complete their pre shift checks. St John were reminded that they cannot have it both ways, they cannot hold people to account against a multitude of policy documents requiring vehicle/medication checks, and immediate response to P1 calls, if they are not given the necessary TIME to perform these checks. The organisation needs to guarantee support for their officers should any complaint arise through AHPRA.

On-Road Tutor allowance
St John agreed to withdraw their claim which sought to change the EA wording from on-road ‘tutor’, to on road ‘mentor’. Presented as an innocent minor wording update, it was clear this was an attempt to strengthen their tenuous argument that ‘AHPRA mentoring requirements’ meant all paramedics can receive students ‘as part of their registration requirements’. In the spirit of compromise, the AEAWA revised our On Road Tutor allowance claim (previous claim was to increase allowance from $18.07 per shift to $59.60 per shift) to a claim for ‘1 hour of standard pay’ per shift (which would see an on road tutor allowance increase to AP1 $38.61, AP2 $40.65, AP3 $42.70 per shift (or between $154.44-$170.80 per set of 4 shifts). St John will consider and reply in due course.

Country Relief Employee Expenses Allowance
St John have agreed to withdraw their claim seeking to move to a daily rate and the proposed new reference to it being only claimable for each day living away from home. This claim was never going anywhere and we let SJA know this.

Health and well-being allowance
SJA rejected the AEAWA claim for to allow the purchase of equipment with the $500 annual wellbeing allowance. To progress this claim we have agreed to withdraw this portion of our claim, but we are still seeking CPI increase applied since the inception of the allowance (which will increase the allowance to $580)

Declared Emergency Clause
SJA have agreed to withdraw their claim for the declared emergency clause. This is a substantial win for our members over a clause which would have given SJA total control over all your hours of work, shift pattern and work arrangements during an ‘emergency’ as defined by them (ramping emergency anyone?)

CEP non-clinical component increase
SJA have agreed to withdraw their claim to increase the non-clinical component of CEP. The AEAWA have staunchly opposed this claim which we saw as the ‘thin end of the wedge’ in the movement to push all clinical CEP responsibility onto the individual paramedic. This would have seen a situation in which CEP became nothing more than a HR and managerial message update, with virtually no clinical content.

Claims which have been agreed to be resolved through working group
Uniform claims seeking climate friendly uniform, maternity friendly uniform, and badges which clearly differentiate between career and volunteer officers, role and scope (this will encompass all operational uniforms including SOC). Recruitment claims for a fair and transparent process

Important AEAWA claims which remain on the table
Restrictions on single officer dispatch/duties (unless recruited/selected to a single officer role)
Reasonable Overtime clause
Meal breaks
Inter-Agreement restrictions on crew formation (we have a plan)
Introduction of change claim
Dispute settling claim
Consultation Process claim

Important SJA claims which remain on the table
Allocated positions claim (no new allocated positions to be created…ever)
Roster flexibility (ability to roster people off shift colour and out of depot for longer)
224 default roster (ability to roster new staff onto 4X4)
CAMC (SJA have agreed in principle to AEAWA counter proposal to CAMC)

All other Operational claims
The rest of the meeting was spent discussing the status of smaller operational claims. A number of very minor claims were withdrawn by all parties.

All CCP claims
Discussion took place regarding several CCP claims, most of which are at ‘in principle agreement’ status, however the AEAWA highlighted that work still needs to be done regarding equity in accruing country relief scores for CCP vs paramedic / community paramedic country relief, and the holding of two permanent positions.

All Special Ops claims
It was confirmed that all SOP claims are at ‘in principle agreement’.

All Leave claims
Leave claims have been agreed in principle predominantly through the addition of:
2 additional days of personal/sick leave
Increase in Special Leave availability from 6% to 7%
Reduced blackout periods for Special Leave
Increased ability to have 96 hours positive Special Leave, 48 hours negative
increase in Defence Service Leave from 4 day to 8 days
SAO exam Special Leave guarantee or alternate shift guarantee
Option of Annual Leave at half pay

This rounds up the summary for today’s meeting. As always, please feel free to comment or contact us privately on [email protected] with feedback.

The next meeting will be on 27th October 2021 9.30am

Kind regards

AEAWA Negotiation Team

13th October, 2021 - EBA Meeting 23 Minutes

The 23rd Meeting of the Enterprise Bargaining Negotiations
09:30-15:45 on October 13, 2021

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Lee Waller, Dave Higgins, Mike Hardwick, Dave Bryant, Dave Abbott and Conrad Fairhead.

Committee Apologies
Marty Kelly

This meeting with St John management was the 23rd full day of negotiation following a 2 week break from Negotiations over the school holidays. Only 3 items were listed on the agenda this fortnight, and if they happen to look familiar, it is because they are in fact the exact same 3 items from our last meeting. SJA indicated they really want to get a resolution on these 3 items, hence their re-listing.

Sadly therefore, the most interesting thing on the agenda today was lunch, which was a selection of Miss Maud sandwiches, Ham & Creamy Egg baguette, Turkey & Avocado sandwich, Chicken & Bacon finger food, salad and some weird lemon slice thing.

Pre-shift Equipment Checks
MORE discussion took place regarding the ‘SOP Commencement and End of Shift Responsibilities’ with SJA seeking further feedback on this document. SJA were reminded that discussions are now are a long way from where we started, which was with an EBA claim for 15 minutes of PAID pre-shift vehicle check time, noting that most officers arrive early and perform this work unpaid anyway at present…we did NOT make a claim for the revision of an SOP.

However, following feedback from officers who did not want to extend their working day by 15 minutes under any circumstances, the AEAWA negotiation team explored ways to define the conditions surrounding vehicle checks AFTER the commencement of the rostered shift time. It is through this process we have ended up discussing an SOP, rather than an Certified Agreement clause.

Today the AEAWA made our position clear, we want unambiguous indemnity from the organisation for our members, who, if they are turned out at 0700 for a Priority 1, with insufficient time to have performed their checks, and are involved in an incident due to equipment absence or malfunction, that the organisation will support them unequivocally, and unconditionally.

SJA indicated that they have sought legal advice and are willing to include a general statement from their Professional Indemnity insurers in the SOP, but will need further legal advice if we want it in the EBA (which we do…because that’s what we are here to discuss).

The statement from their PI insurer in unsatisfactory however, as it states words to the effect that ‘so long as the employee has followed all applicable policy and guidance’ etc etc. Our question is therefore, which policy and guidance? There are numerous different documents and SOPs which specify different things to check, not including the electronic daily check, and specify how long you have to respond etc.

Our members do everything in their power to ensure our patients receive the best care, and will make themselves immediately ready wherever possible for serious priority 1 cases. The reality is that it is our members who are compensating for an overworked, under resourced and substandard fleet and the organisation should therefore fulfil their end of the bargain and support crews if it all goes south.

The AEAWA also highlighted some problematic wording in this SOP (which admittedly was pre-exisiting wording, not approved by us) which appears to place ALL responsibility for vehicle readiness on the off-going crew. We believe this is unreasonable, especially where a crew is already on a shift extension, and not had time to perform all ‘end of shift duties’ BEFORE the end of their scheduled finish time. We have suggested wording reflects actual practice, that is, a crews ‘make reasonable effort’ (not must) to ensure the vehicle is operational at the end of shift, otherwise a note for the oncoming crew will be sufficient.

Recruitment Claims
No further discussion took place on this subject. SJA confirmed receipt of our formal position, presented in writing. We are seeking a fair and transparent recruitment process, with multiple assessed components specific to the role, employee representatives from that role on selection panels, and with less weight placed on the interview.

4×4 Roster proposal
In the morning, SJA again raised their claim for a mechanism to cover vacancies which arise on 4×4, particularly at short notice. You may remember that during previous negotiations on this subject, the AEAWA have countered the SJA claim with a modified system which would increase fairness, transparency and equity while still permitting the organisation to fill short notice absence when required.

Later in today’s discussions, SJA appeared to retreat somewhat from their position, citing unforeseen operational difficulties with multiple different 4×4 late shift start times (which we had warned them weeks ago about), and the possibility of agreeing to something in the form of a EBA clause, which they fear may not actually work as well as they hope. Basically, they appear reluctant to commit to something in the EBA. Instead, SJA proposed a ‘trial’ / ‘working group’ / ‘pilot’ / ‘experiment’ which they felt would help to flesh out the operation of this mechanism, and work toward future operations such as ‘working from a hub’ and ‘what the future of rostering and start times might look like’. No thanks.

The AEAWA and our colleagues in UWU have coordinated to JOINTLY reject this ‘working group’ concept, and instead requested SJA continue negotiations with a view to develop a mechanism that can sit within the EBA, or drop their claim entirely. SJA have agreed to consider our joint response and return with their position next week. Despite the brevity of the above summary, a lot was discussed, it is just that very little progress of note was made. However, all parties are in agreement on something…that the Ham and Creamy Egg baguette was the best lunch option. This rounds up the summary for today’s meeting. As always, please feel free to comment or contact us privately on [email protected] with feedback.

The next meeting will be on 20th October 2021 9.30am

Kind regards

AEAWA Negotiation Team

22nd September, 2021 - EBA Meeting 22 Minutes

Dear members,

This Wednesday saw a shorter meeting with only 3 items listed on the agenda. This meeting with St John management was the 22nd day of negotiation. All parties taking a 2 week break from negotiations for the school holidays, with the next meeting set for 13th September 2021 (nb documents will continue to be circulated for review).

Pre-shift Equipment Checks
Today SJA presented a revised ‘SOP Commencement and End of Shift Responsibilities’ document, with several changes introduced based on feedback from bargaining groups. This document provides an outline/list of checks defined as ‘Emergency Checks’ which are mandatory prior to attending any P1 or P2 cases at the start of shift. After attending the initial case, a crew can then complete a more thorough check in accordance with the vehicle layout guide, and request a P8 card if necessary to restock any missing items.

Significant discussions took place regarding the current pressures on road which have contributed to the need for this claim, and the lack of time during shift to adequately check and clean vehicles. Further, many officers do not feel confident that the organisation will support them should a clinical complaint arise due to equipment issues. This document now includes wording which indicates that St John will have considered an officer to have satisfied all their clinical and employment obligations if responding to a case, having only completed the ‘Emergency Check’. It also states that the organisation will support officers in respect to any action taken.

The document goes some way to satisfying the major concern of our members, which was for SJA to indemnify officers who respond to a case having only completed an ‘Emergency Check’, in the event of missing or non-operational equipment. However, we have reservations that the key wording which provides a commitment to this indemnity will be contained in a SOP, which can be effectively edited, re-written or deleted without consultation. We have therefore requested that the indemnification itself is incorporated into the Certified Agreement. St John indicated they will need to obtain advice and respond back to this request at a future date.

Recruitment Claims
SJA responded to the AEAWA claim for a fair, transparent and open recruitment process which will more adequately assess the skills of applicants, not solely their interview skills. SJA have provided a draft document for review (click here), which outlines a commitment to establish a working group composing bargaining group representatives and ‘Talent Sourcing’ staff, to reconfigure the recruitment process to achieve a fairer system.

As mentioned last week, we would like to arrive at a recruitment system which is transparent, removes bias, and ‘weighs’ and assesses a a range of skills, experience and qualifications relevant to the role. We cautiously welcome this initial response to our claim, but will examine the document and terms of reference and respond formally next week.

4×4 Roster proposal
You will remember that last week the AEAWA responded to SJA’s 4X4 roster model with a system we believed would increase fairness, transparency and equity while still permitting the organisation to fill short notice absence when required.

Under our preferred system, up to 6 officers per shift would be allocated permanently to work as ‘spare’ officers on a 4X4 roster to cover unplanned leave, book-offs, short notice relief and work injuries. ALL OTHER 4X4 leave blocks, and other long term absences would be filled by 224 officers under a list system. This, we believe, would result in many, many more opportunities for 224 officers to gain respite from night shift, on 4X4.

St John have responded today, stating that they DO NOT agree to this mechanism, and want to allocate a much LARGER cohort of officers to work on 4X4 to cover ALL vacancies, including all book offs AND ALL annual leave. This would see approximately 16 officers per shift with the lowest service numbers permanently allocated to 4X4, and rostered to fill ALL 4X4 vacancies, including annual leave, long service leave, country relief, community paramedic, helicopter rosters, CPHC and CSP secondments. SJA have also indicated that the potential 64 officers allocated onto their proposed 4×4 roster, would NOT be required to give up their existing Allocated Position until they have been out of that position for 2 years in 3, meaning more allocated positions would be tied up and unavailable to those waiting for an allocated position.

This will in effect ELIMINATE or SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE any opportunity for your average 224 paramedic to have ANY respite covering annual leave. In fact, it will most likely mean 224 officers will have NO opportunity to work 224, going forward, unless wellbeing factors are raised. And to compound the issue, 224 officers will not be advanced on any Allocated Positions list for a considerable amount of time.

On the whole, we feel that the system we have proposed is more fair and equitable than the system proposed by St John. It probably goes without saying that we are completely opposed to the SJA proposal.

SJA were informed that we do not agree to this model, and that we would rather keep the current system unchanged, rather than move towards a model which is LESS FAIR, and provides LESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESPITE, to our members.

This rounds up the summary for today’s meeting. As always, please feel free to comment or contact us privately on [email protected] with feedback.

The next meeting will be on 13th October 2021 9.30am


As this is a short summary today we’d like to take an opportunity to inform our members of some recent developments, and highlight some trending issues that have repeatedly brought to our attention:

Managers on road.
In accordance with our EBA, any manager (whether operational or clinical, on secondment or permanent appointed) seeking to work an on road shift with a Paramedic or Ambulance Officer, needs the prior agreement of the rostered officer. This is part of our EBA, and affords officers protection against potential conflict of interest occurring, in the course of that shift, or in relation to previous and future disciplinary process. Prior to the commencement of the shift, you should have been contacted by rosters to gain your consent. Of course there may well be no issues on many occasions, but if an officers feels uncomfortable through previous managerial interactions, they have the right to refuse and we will support them 100%.

‘Hot swaps’ on the ramp.
We have concerns that community calls are waiting while hot swaps are being facilitated, often these hot swaps are entirely Patient Transport suitable (being take-homes or hospital transfers), and when facilitated by the Paramedic workforce there is no incentive for the organisation to increase Patient Transport numbers. Often these swaps are arranged even when there are vacant beds in the ED, and arranged without consultation of the crew or through SOC. It is our opinion the main beneficiaries of such ‘hot swaps’ are the hospital. Please ensure the RTM is consulted prior to accepting any hot swap as there may be higher priority community calls waiting.

X-Rays / CT scan poster, SCGH
Several posters had been displayed at SCGH ED outlining a process whereby crews would be expected to facilitate x-rays and CT scans on the ramp, utilising hospital equipment. This remains a contentious issue and one for which we remain in discussion with St John. The poster had been developed in conjunction with SCGH management, and without consultation of your employment representatives. It included a preference for a patient to be placed into a hospital gown is possible, and for the crew to operate a hospital bed, through the hospital. We have raised objections to this process and highlighted that there have been prior clinical incidents involving patient’s being placed on hospital beds, which have been investigated by SJA management as part of disciplinary process. Following our communication, SJA have agreed to removed the posters for editing, and have responded that ‘on further review SJA do not condone the use of an ED trolley.  We will review to ensure it is clear to staff that they are not required to operate the equipment’

Cameras have been installed in certain depots as part of ‘depot works’ and the moving of safe’s and offices, for the ‘Metro Management Model’ zoning, and AM’s in depots. In some depots this has involved CCTV being placed in areas currently considered ‘private’, such as lockers rooms. We have written to SJA to advise them that national best practice is to inform staff in writing about plans to introduce CCTV into a workplace, prior to install, and to avoid installing CCTV in private areas.

Parliamentary Inquiry
Members of the AEAWA Executive Committee will appear before the Parliamentary Inquiry tomorrow to answer questions based on our formal written submission and provide additional input where required.

Time out of Depot between Secondments
Numerous discussions have occurred with SJA over the time out of depot between secondment periods. Both the AEAWA and SJA discussed the time frame of an employee returning to their substantive position at their allocated station. This period is listed as four-months before an officer could then apply for another seconded position. The discussion, as others have in the past, has been on the transparency of this four-month period.

The AEAWA stated feedback from the membership and the committee, was that only time working in that position, should be counted. Periods of Annual Leave, Long Service Leave, Maternity Leave etc should not be included in that time frame. If an officer returns to metro to perform their four-months ‘in station’ time, and periods of leave are provided, then that four-month working in station time is paused until the officer returns to their depot, for the clock to start again.

An example was provided that if an employee did not want to work in metro they could potentially go on 8-weeks leave, extending that to 16-weeks at half pay, and never work in their depot, thus going against the intent of the clause. St John agreed and stated that the intention will always be to have those employees returning to metro for that four-month period working as a crew in that location, before another seconded period could be applied for.

Culture Survey 2021
We have written to SJA regarding their recently announced decision to ‘postpone’ the 2021 Culture Survey, and await their response. The Culture Survey serves an important role to gauge the direction of the workplace culture of the organisation. It is our view, based on feedback from our membership, that recent years has seen a deterioration in workplace culture (for instance Yammer in particular has been a particularly unhelpful forum), and that a Culture Survey this year is of crucial importance.

Kind regards


8th September, 2021 - EBA Meeting 21 Minutes

Dear members,

This Wednesday’s negotiation summary is very short as, to be blunt, there was minimal discussion worthy of reporting for the 21st Negotiations meeting.

Today was the 21st full day of negotiations. While progress has been made on a number of important issues, there remains a number of important AEAWA claims which have not been tabled for many weeks. We therefore see the negotiation continuing for some considerable time.

The AEAWA presented a proposal which we feel can from the basis of a fair and transparent process to undertake recruitment for operational positions under the EA.
Our document received an encouraging reception from SJA and UWU who, after asking some clarifying questions, indicated interest in the recruitment proposal and will take the document away to analyse further. If you are interested in the details of this proposal, you can read the proposal in the attachment.

4×4 Roster proposal detail
The AEAWA provided an outline of our response to SJA’s proposal which will ensure equity and parity in the allocation of 4X4 leave blocks to 224 officers, and to outline controls we plan to place on SJA’s proposed ‘permanent rotating/spare’ 4X4 officer plan. A significant amount of discussion took place clarifying detail on this proposal, with the AEAWA negotiation committee answering questions from SJA and UWU. All parties appeared to be mostly in agreement on the rough mechanism of operation, but there remains detail to be agreed. We will respond to SJA in coming weeks.

SOP – Commencement and End of Shift Responsibilities
The AEAWA provided feedback on the draft SOP issued by St John which covers start of shift vehicle, equipment and medication checks. The critical factor in this situation is that current standby capacity remains at historically low levels, with no improvement forecast, and therefore no flex exists within the system to allow crews to check their vehicles appropriately, no opportunity to refuel or wash vehicles during working hours, and no allocated vehicles to help crews take ownership of their van. The result is a workforce who are largely tired of excuses and want St John to either provide time for checks and inspections, or to outline in detail, what is required to meet their employment and AHPRA obligations.

As stated before, given the frequency with which crews are immediately dispatched to calls at the commencement of their shift, we feel St John WA need to provide:
A comprehensive outline of what checks are essential prior to responding to a case Professional indemnity from adverse action should any clinical, operational or traffic incident occur where a more thorough check has not been possible prior to attending a case

This segment of the agenda saw robust discussion between St John WA and bargaining groups, which unfortunately deteriorated somewhat into a circular discussion. Your negotiation committee elected to move forward as the proposed SOP is not an EA document and the continued debate was non-productive.

This rounds up the short summary for today’s meeting. As always, please feel free to comment or contact us privately on [email protected] with feedback.

Next meeting will be 15th September 2021 9.30am

1st September, 2021 - EBA Meeting 20 Minutes

Dear members,

This meeting with St John management was the 20th day of negotiations.

A summary of discussions is as follows:

SJA’s Proposed ‘Consultation Framework’
AEAWA were asked to provide feedback on SJA’s proposed consultation framework. As before, we are far from convinced this document will result in the changes we seek in terms of achieving true consultation when SJA seek to introduce change. At this stage we are still digesting the content of this draft document and will aim to formally respond to this consultation framework next week.

North West Duties Allowance
Last week your AEAWA delegates objected to calculations used by SJA to adjust the NW allowance in compensation for additional sick leave cover, as we felt it did not reflect the additional burden on larger North West sub-centres. Today SJA have updated the calculations, and in the interests of simplicity they have agreed to apply a 2.13% increase (the larger of the previous % offered) uniformly across ALL the North West centres. The negotiation team feel this is a reasonable increase over last week and therefore we have accepted this offer as compensatory of the additional personal leave cover burden.

Uniform Committee
SJA to provide update regarding their proposal for the establishment of a Uniform Committee. SJA provided the terms of reference for the proposed uniform committee, specifically for operational staff uniform. We had a number of questions surrounding the proposed terms of reference and SJA plan to provide clarity next week.

Recruitment Policy/Clause
As we have outlined in previous weeks, the AEAWA believe that the current recruitment system is deeply flawed. SJA acknowledge that many operational staff are frustrated with the current recruitment system and accept that it is viewed as flawed. The AEAWA believe that each stage of the recruitment process should be assessed and evaluated independently, scored and weighted, with the interview forming just one stage of this recruitment process. The scores achieved from each prior step in the recruitment process should carry through to the interview and contribute to a final appointment decision, not just ‘get you to the interview’, as per current practice, only to be discarded in determining the final appointment.

The AEAWA look to the Critical Care Paramedic recruitment model as an example of where recruitment is undertaken by scoring applicants on a number of factors such as experience, clinical expertise and a range of fitness assessments, not simply an interview alone. While this example is not without room for improvement, we see a ‘form’ of this kind of multi-factor weighted recruitment process as being far more transparent and more ‘fair’ that most other recruitment processes within SJA. The current process for most operational roles is 100% based on the interview performance, and we completely disagree with this. It essentially boils down to a personality based appointment system, not necessarily merit.

The AEAWA also demand an open and robust appeals process, which would sit within the agreement. The AEAWA negotiation team offered to form a working group with our colleagues in UWU (along with representatives from SJA management) to immediately commence urgent redesign of the recruitment process for operational positions, which includes weighting for factors considered important to operational roles.

The AEAWA also proposed a return to a system which used to be widespread within SJA, whereby an employee representative could attend and contribute to interview performance assessment, providing some balance from to the managerial and HR perspective, and keeping the process more fair and transparent. In fact, the ongoing CCP recruitment model has a serving CCP on the recruitment panel, and CPHC recruitment also tends to have serving secondments as interview panel members.

SJA’s 4X4 Roster Spare’s claim
SJA requested AEAWA respond to their proposal to allocate staff with lower service sequence numbers onto a 4X4 pattern to cover 4X4 annual leave and unplanned leave (sick leave, family leave, workers compensation). Crucially in their proposal was the wish to cover all 4X4 annual leave rosters with these officers, thus eliminating opportunity for other 224 officers to enjoy a break from nights. From data presented last week, SJA were seeking officers on a 4X4 pattern to cover and daily average of 11 officers to cover annual leave, 5 to cover unplanned leave, and 1 to cover work related injury.

As our members will be aware, we ran a recent survey to understand the feeling of our members to this plan, the results of which overwhelmingly demonstrated that our members want 4X4 annual leave cover to remain available to 224 officers as an opportunity to seek respite from nights. Further, as an incentive to reach compromise, SJA have unequivocally offered to remove all of their claims for permanency (guaranteeing protection of current and  future allocated positions) if an agreement can be reached on this issue, which would help them to cover short notice unplanned leave on day ambulance.

Following receipt of our survey data, and in consideration of the above and seeing an opportunity to increase fairness and equity for our members, the AEAWA have proposed to permit SJA to allocate a small number of officers per 4X4 shift pattern, permanently to a 4X4 ‘spare’ role. The number is to be determined but likely to fall between 3-6 officers per shift. These positions would be filled on an application system, using a service sequence number process, as per the usual process for allocated positions. Once accepted as a permanent 4X4 spare, an officer would rescind their existing allocated position on 224. Being permanently allocated to 4X4 spare would not allow any ‘queue jumping’ to a permanent allocated vehicle, though they could of course remain on a list for an allocated vehicle position.

Critically, we have proposed to SJA that the 11+ annual leave daily vacancies remain available to 224 officers as respite from nights. Officers would voluntarily be applying to be permanent 4X4 spare, and while detail will need to be worked out as to the expectations of starting depots, it is important to note that under our proposal, these permanent officers would not be eligible to cover annual leave (as this remains a respite opportunity for 224 officers) or any planned absence, but will of course be able to cover any extended sickness or injury during the roster, and short notice relief cover etc that occurs mid roster.

Importantly we have indicated, that in order to increase fairness and transparency, we want the introduction of a list system to balance the allocation of 4X4 annual leave cover rosters, amongst 224 officers (similar to the operation of current allocated position lists and country relief score details located on Connect). Our calculations show that there are a minimum of 132 x 8 week leave blocks per year, which does not include cover for day 4X4 officers who take country relief, 4X4 officers who are on Long Service Leave, 4X4 officers who are on Critical Care Paramedic roles (for much of the year), CPHC secondments, Industrial Paramedic contracts, CSP secondment, nor those fulfilling HLM or AM roles, or future PSO secondments. In reality, the number of 4X4 leave block positions available per year will be significantly higher than this, and if available to 224 officers on a FAIR list system, will see an increase of current respite opportunities available to more officers.

Furthermore, our proposal will see 4X4 leave cover available to those 224 officers who hold a permanent allocated 224 position, and who are often overlooked for respite from nights. We have had members provide feedback during our survey indicating that they have worked 9 years for SJA and not once been allocated to a 4X4 vehicle.
The AEAWA negotiation team have given considerable thought to this proposal and see this as an opportunity to increase fairness and equity in the allocation of 4X4 leave blocks to 224 staff, AND a way to eliminate other threats to permanency from SJA.

Pre Shift Equipment Checks
Their wears insufficient time today to address our claim for Pre Shift checks, however SJA provided a draft SOP for consideration. We will review the document and respond next week.

This rounds up the summary for today’s meeting.

As always, please feel free to comment or contact us privately on [email protected] with feedback. Thanks to all our members for their continued support.

Next meeting will be 8 September 2021 9.30am

25th August, 2021 - EBA Meeting 19 Minutes

Dear members,
As usual, Wednesday saw the convening of the bargaining parties for an all day EBA negotiating session. This meeting with St John management was the 19th day of negotiations.

Firstly, before we begin our usual summary of today’s meeting, we’d like to take a brief moment to address some concerns raised by our colleagues representing UWU.
There has been some material circulated which contains claims and statements regarding our counter proposal to the SJA model which we feel need some quick clarifications.
The AEAWA committee will continue to work constructively with all parties in an effort to protect and improve working conditions for our members.

Statement 1:
‘AEA/SJA model of care’
As before, our model is NOT in any way, an SJA model. We hope that all parties can see the value in an idea, independently of who has proposed it. Hopefully we can discuss concerns to ensure best outcomes for ALL our members. This model was developed completely independently of SJA by the AEAWA, based on feedback from our membership, and on our current operational exposure. Your committee is entirely composed of front line operational staff. The idea for our counter proposal arose during our protracted efforts at early meetings to reject the original SJA proposal. Our rejections were predominantly that the SJA model did not address the main issues affecting the ability of the emergency ambulance service to respond to the community, namely, the bulk of low acuity transfers and very low acuity community work which is tying up front line emergency paramedics and preventing them from responding to the sickest patients. We also objected outright to the SJA proposal to pay paramedics who were performing emergency work, a new lower salary and a salary/progression cap under the ‘Qualified Paramedic’ heading.

Statement 2:
“St John dismissed the United Workers Union’s response to the AEA/SJA clinical care model, despite the overwhelming support for our position from members”            Response:
We have no objections to the UWU proposal of a new role in the form of Extended Care Practitioners and we will always be in favour of new career opportunities for our paramedic members. However we just don’t feel that, in isolation, it will help with the massive number of inter-facility transfers (‘paramedic required’ because they need a monitor or not), nor make the slightest dent in the huge volume of low acuity community P3’s that dominate night shifts for our members. Despite being low acuity, many of these complex elderly P3 patients do need transportation, and we do not feel that front line emergency paramedics are required for this type of work, work which will has a high likelihood of being ramped for many hours. Our approximately 750 members have also indicated overwhelmingly positive support for our plan to remove much of the P3 and inter-facility workload from their day, and hopefully refocus their experience and expertise on the highest acuity patients.

Statement 3:
“St John and AEA continue to advocate for lower-paid registered paramedics, that will work out of transport”                                                                                                         Response:
We have not begun to discuss a pay scale for the proposed “Transport Medic’ classification. The current situation with university courses sees an abundance of degree qualified registered paramedics currently taking jobs with Wilson and NPT on ‘award wages’ (as there are simply not enough emergency ambulance service paramedic vacancies with SJA), or these graduates begin work with SJA as Transport Officers, hoping for a ‘foot in the door’ and are limited to very low acuity transfers which do not require a monitor or IV pump, wheelchair jobs, and dialysis runs. We are proposing a model which will allow these Transport Medics to undertake vetted P3 community work and gain experience within this ambulance service treating real patients. This already happens to an extent after the Transport dispatch desk finishes, and historically used to happen much more frequently. Many of our Transport members enjoy undertaking a higher degree of community work, and their training is more than adequate to attend, for instance, a patient who fell two days ago and now has pain. We can all agree that much of this low acuity work should take private transport, but we also need to acknowledge SJA will keep sending a resource, that is their business model and we can’t change that through an EBA.

Our model will also see the vast majority of front line emergency paramedics recruitment occurring from within these now experienced ranks, making this a true career pathway. The by product is that front line emergency crews are freed from the lower acuity work and able to get to P1 and P2 cases more quickly. Yes, these officers are proposed to work out of Transport, for the following reasons highlighted below.

Statement 4:
“These ‘medics’ will also be sent to country locations and will be doing all work including P1’s”
This was never in our counter proposal, and in fact the location of this ‘Transport Medic’ proposed classification within the Transport Agreement is exactly one mechanism we have engineered to PREVENT this kind of bleed over of this new classification, into the work traditionally undertaken by front line emergency paramedics. We initially gave significant thought to the pro’s and cons of a proposing a ‘Transport Medic’ type role to be contained within the Paramedics & Ambulance Officers certified agreement and your committee felt that this could potentially facilitate future leadership at St John growing this resource and utilising them in areas typically reserved for front line paramedics. It is our firm belief that containing this role under the Ambulance Transport Officer agreement ring-fences the role and prevents its use in areas we do not agree with.

Statement 5:
“St John will not need to send AP’s to country locations”
Actually quite the opposite is true, SJA will need to send AP’s because, as above, country ambulance is covered by the Paramedics & Ambulance Officers Agreement.

Other topics discussed today include:

Casual clause (SJA)
The AEAWA accepted this revised clause, following SJA changes which we had requested. The changes we requested will limit the expansion of the casual paramedics workforce.
The AEAWA are opposed to the unchecked expansion of a casual paramedics workforce, which we see as reducing our bargaining strength and collective focus.

Consultation framework (SJA)
AEAWA responded cautiously to this proposal from SJA which seeks to substitute a ‘framework’ for our claims regarding the dispute resolution process and introduction of change. We are seeing in which direction our other claims head before we respond formally to this proposal.

North West Duties Adjustment
AEAWA sought clarification on the calculations of the revised NW allowance provided by SJA, in light of the additional sick leave expectation on officers working in the NW.
Our members may not be aware that the NW allowance includes payment in lieu an expectation that they may need to cover absences of their colleagues, without an overtime payment. The AEAWA highlighted that the risk of being required to work additional shifts to cover colleagues increases in proportion to the size of the NW stations/number of officers present at the station. SJA have agreed to take this away as a counter claim and return to the negotiation table with a response, which we hope will see a more proportionate increase in the NW allowance for officers who will now be potentially working MORE sick leave cover.

Uniform committee representatives
SJA advised that supply chain have commenced the formation of a uniform committee and sought nominations from both bargaining groups. The AEAWA proposed two delegates and their proxies to attend these committee meetings. An expression of interest will go out to on road representatives also, from metro and the regions. SJA were unable to give a timeframe for the development of a new uniform. This committee will sit under procurement and so metro ops management were unsure of details. We will supply more information as we get it, but we will certainly be campaigning for suitable maternity uniform, uniform which is appropriate for different climatic regions, low care and robust, comfortable, and has a ‘onesie’ option.

4×4 roster Claim (SJA)
You will recall that SJA want to introduce a small pool of spare/rotational officers allocated to 4X4 to cover absences. SJA responded to earlier AEAWA feedback by providing data from the Business Information department showing a need for a number of rotational officers to be placed on 4X4 equivalent to 26-33% of the established 4X4 workforce.
The data shows that the established 4X4 workforce is 66 officers per day. Therefore, SJA seek to cover an average of 11 people on Annual Leave, 5 Unplanned Leave, and 1 on

Work Related Injury, which equates to 26% of the 66 officers, and thus forms the basis of their claim for (minimum) 26% rotational 4X4 officers.
We are unsure how 4X4 ‘Annual Leave’, which is leave planned 12 months in advance in most cases, requires a cohort of 4X4 spares and rotators to cover. This proposal should ONLY cover unplanned leave. Further, assigning EXCESS officers permanently to a 4X4 pattern will PREVENT opportunity for 224 officers to have ANY respite on a day ambulance.

224 officers who do not have the one of the lowest service numbers will be consigned permanently to work 224 and without opportunity a break from nights. We are also talking of just a few successful officers MAXIMUM per shift, who will then undertake EVERY single 4X4 vacancy going forward. We have further concerns as this proposal seeks to EXPAND and GROW the use of spare and rotational staff when in fact there are VACANCIES left on every roster, which sees officers driving past empty spots to work spare at a depot. Make no mistake, SJA would love for nothing more than to have a workforce composed entirely of spare and rotational officers, this proposal is a further erosion of allocating people to positions, and will undermine staffing on the 224.

They AEAWA also would like to highlight to our members that due to there being 4 different 4X4 shift colours, the SJA 4×4 claim would see AT MOST 3 or 4 new 4X4 rotational positions per shift. Our UWU colleagues indicated support for this proposal from SJA, subject to SJA’s previous commitment to withdraw other claims on permanency in exchange.

UWU proposed a list based system, similar in operation to an existing allocated position, which would commence with a expression of interest, be populated as such, and then as it becomes vacated will be offered to the next officer on the list They propose a separate list for each 4X4 colour (rotational blue/red, black/blue, red/green, green black etc), similar to MID21 list would operate, however, if you decline the opportunity to move to a rotational 4X4 roster you go to the bottom of a list (similar to current allocated positions). The AEAWA are opposed to the removal of a potential 165 rosters of annual leave cover currently available to 224 officers as respite from night shift, to be placed into the hands of a select few with the lowest service numbers. We welcome feedback from our members on this.

Paid meal breaks claim (AEAWA)
SJA responded to the AEAWA for paid meal breaks. SJA argue that it would be extremely difficult, in fact it would be ‘impossible’ operationally to implement a system of scheduled meal breaks. SJA indicated they have NO capacity to provide scheduled meal breaks to crews, and that this claim would be impossible to implement at the current time. Much discussion took place but the long and short of the discussion was that the AEAWA claim for a paid meal break is DECLINED. SJA state that there is considerable resistance from some hospital partnerships, in particular SCGH (who are issuing parking tickets to CSP cars parked at ED) to provide facilities for breaks.

SJA acknowledged that they are aware the Association has contacted both the Director General of Health and the Minister for Health to encourage the State operated Hospitals to provide a space for ambulance workers to take a break and eat. SJA encouraged United Workers Union to apply similar pressure as the AEAWA have done, to further progress this issue. SJA stated that they have ‘brainstormed’ a proposal to trial the introduction of a ‘mobile vehicle’ which would attend ED’s during high periods of ramping to enable crews to heat their food and sit inside the vehicle. This vehicle would not serve food but have a microwave. The trial would only occur on day shifts. SJA were keen to understand if such a trial mobile crib vehicle would satisfy our claim for paid meal breaks, and facilities to eat.

AEAWA Response
Our position is that the claim for paid meal breaks REMAINS ON THE TABLE.
The AEAWA negotiation team are unsure why the scheduling of meal breaks is such an impossible task given that every other state ambulance service in Australia manages to achieve some form of meal break for their staff. The question then is, what are SJA doing so wrong that there is NO capacity to provide this basic requirement? This goes back to our original statement regarding this claim for meal breaks. The capability of a service to have sufficient capacity to provide meal breaks is as important as the meal break issue itself. Your bargaining representatives have minimal influence on how SJA resource the service, but what we can potentially do is influence resourcing by leveraging other worthy claims which have, as a by product, increased resourcing.

The AEAWA argue that even where WA Health have afforded facilities for ambo’s to eat, such as the ‘ambulance base’ at Fiona Stanley. St John have converted this room partially into a store room, which highlights the priority of the organisation is enabling faster re-stocking and turnaround times, than enabling crews to eat in safe and hygienic environments. The DG of Health clearly communicated that this room at FSH was allocated to SJA for ‘whatever use they see fit’. SJA have chosen a store room over a crib facility.

SJA were advised that their ‘mobile crib room’ idea would need to be present on night shifts as a bare minimum before we would even consider it, but we highlighted that this is no substitute for a scheduled break were crews can attend a café or takeaway restaurant and actually order a meal without threat of a job being dispatched to them. Further, they would need several of these vehicles for this system to make an impact, and still this only would help during periods of high ramping, not when crews are simply busy.
The issue was further raised that to enjoy a meal in this mobile crib room, paramedics may have to leave their junior SAO looking after their patient (or multiple patients according to some SOPs) while they left the hospital. This poses additional patient safety and crew safety risks not factored into their mobile crib room plan, and again is no substitute for a meal break when NOT concurrently caring for patient(s).

Equipment Checks
SJA to respond to Pre – Shift check and Equipment check claims (AEAWA)
SJA refused to consider paid overtime pre-shift to conduct shift checks.
SJA claim there is NO expectation for staff to conduct a pre shift check in their own time.
SJA state that if a call comes in before a crew has completed their start of shift check, that they should perform an ‘emergency’ check and attend the call.

AEAWA Response:
We believe that the 000 workload at shift changeover times in recent years, an ever expanding ‘Electronic Daily Medication and Equipment’ form, and an unprecedented shortage of vehicles (leading to hot swapping vans every shift) has resulted in members contacting us fed up with never having sufficient time to check their vehicles.

The AEAWA want complete professional indemnity for our members in the event they are dispatched to attend a case, in situations where adequate vehicle and equipment check time has not been available at the start of their shift. We want a detailed list to be developed in conjunction with Clinical Governance to determine items required for checking and the order of priority in which these should be checked so as to enable as safe a response to a patient. We want the ability to request a P8 card to complete checks which were not completed at start of shift, prior to the allocation of a call.

Recruitment Process Claim
The AEAWA informed St John our claim for a FAIR and TRANSPARENT, procedurally fair recruitment process is one of our ‘die in the ditch’ claims which is non negotiable. We will not recommended a Certified Agreement to our members which does not address the personality based, hugely interview centred recruitment process which currently exists.

Some potential options we would like to have considered are:
• De-identified job applications
• Separate scoring for different aspects of the recruitment process
• Assigned weighting for different aspects of the recruitment process (eg resume, experience, exam, interview)
• Separate teams assessing individual components

This rounds up the summary for today’s meeting. As always, please feel free to comment or contact us privately on [email protected] with feedback.

Thank you for your continued support.

Next meeting will be 1st September 2021 9.30am

18th August, 2021 - EBA Meeting 18 Minutes

Dear members,

Today your negotiation team met with St John for the 18th scheduled EBA negotiation meeting.

Most of today’s discussion centred on the below proposed 4X4 roster amendment by SJA.

As usual, we welcome feedback from our members either in the comments below or via email if you prefer at [email protected]. We do our absolute best to reply to comments where possible, but the team are sure our members appreciate we are all incredibly busy right now on multiple fronts, and so comments do occasionally get missed. We certainly don’t ignore comments on purpose (the Facebook account is shared and so sometimes the notification process doesn’t alert us), so if you desperately need an answer to a question please email and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Please keep discussion up on road, especially in respect to the matters that most concern you. The danger in these protracted negotiations is that we become tired of the process and start to lose our conviction. We remain in danger of losing many conditions that have been hard fought and hard won over many years, some of which needed industrial action and picket lines to achieve, so lets all keep strong and be prepared for the long haul.

Thanks once again for your continued support.

AEAWA Negotiation Team

SJA’s proposed amendment to 4X4 Roster clause As discussed last week, St John are seeking MAJOR revisions to the rostering clauses which would give them the ability to create a pool of ‘spare officers’ and rotational officers permanently allocated to day shift only. St John’s view is that this is a necessary development which would mirror the pool of spare officers on 224, which will enable them to cover unplanned book-offs, rather than relying on overtime.

St John’s perspective is that 4X4 needs to expand, but that 224 doesn’t presently need more resources (!!!!!) though they agreed they will add more 224 ‘when they are needed’.
Last week the AEAWA completely objected to St John’s initial proposal, which would allocate brand new employees to permanent day rostering, stating that this would not in any way be acceptable. St John have returned this week with an amended draft clause, which now suggests an application process that would take place based on service sequence number, open to officers currently working 224, which would see them allocated as spare or rotational on a 4X4 pattern for a period of 2 years (for new employees) or permanently on that pattern for successful existing officers.

In it’s current form, the AEAWA are extremely concerned about the ultimate objective of this proposal, which may well be a cloaked attempt to erode permanency on 224 and 4X4, by further expansion of the ‘spare’ workforce.

This proposal may (without adequate safeguards and appropriate wording) allow St John to FURTHER ERODE permanency by allowing the organisation to maintain service without introducing new vehicles, and new positions. The growth of spare officers is problematic, and the growth of 4X4 in association with the complete neglect of 224 is further problematic for those officers left working night shifts.

St John state that currently all ‘spares’ are allocated to 224. This means that when SJA have (predominately) late shift day van book offs, they often need to re-allocate an officer due on work a night to a late day van instead. This in turns affects night shift cover.

We have a number of questions for SJA which will need to be answered before we will consider allowing this proposal to proceed further:
1) The AEAWA want to know what percentage of the workforce SJA would require as ‘spare’/rotational on 4X4 in order to meet their operational requirements? We are concerned that the unchecked growth of the proposition of spare officers benefits only St John, and we want guarantees that whatever percentage of spares SJA need on 4X4 will also translate to 224.
2) The AEAWA recognise that this proposal seeks to enable SJA to guarantee it’s ability to fill 4X4 vehicles each day, but the AEAWA want to know what guarantee will St John offer us that they will ALSO fill night shifts?
3) We want absolute clarity on how officers go into this position and come out of it, and a SOLID plan from SJA as to how this proposal will come together and operate in reality.
4) We want consideration given to our proposal for a ‘spare officer allowance’
5) We want further consideration given to our other claims which seek to improve night shift coverage (eg the AEAWA proposed weekend night shift allowance)

It should be clear to our members that we have significant reservations about the these types of proposal from St John, their contribution to the erosion of the 224 coverage, the longer term implications on permanency, and the unchecked growth in the use of spares. Please be assured we will make sure safeguards against such risks are in place.

Clinical Model of Care (Counter Proposal)
This week UWU were provided with an opportunity to expand on their position with regards to the AEAWA Counter Proposal to the SJA model of care, and to suggest their own preferred model of care.
UWU maintain they still believe Paramedics should be the default response to ALL patients in the community, regardless of acuity.
UWU acknowledge that there might be doubling handing in some cases where a paramedic crew first attend and then refer to a Transport crew to attend later.
UWU have now also suggested the introduction of a Low Priority Assessment Paramedic (LPAP) which could attend low priority cases in the community and work with allied health to refer patients to either alternate care pathways or to a Transport crew. This would likely be a single response type role.
UWU state that LPAP would work with an enhanced Secondary Triage Team to determine which cases can be dealt with by LPAP.

The AEAWA negotiation team are NOT opposed to the development of Low Acuity / Extended Care Paramedic role within the service, however, as has been demonstrated in many services overseas, this model is NOT a silver bullet for low acuity work due to the shear volume of low priority patients who require transportation to some destination. These ECP models also tend to work better in State run ambulance services which tend to have a deeper integration with the wider Health department, as well as patient care policies which are developed in unison toward a shared goal in terms of patient care.

Many of our low priority cases require patients to be lifted from the floor, and a solo responder would be unable to do this safely, even with lifting equipment. Much of our low priority inter-facility work requires a crew of some configuration, and a stretcher. Our view is that this volume of work is simply too high for this model to effective alone, in achieving our ultimate aim of freeing up emergency paramedics to attend higher priority work.

Further, it is sadly the case that the WA allied health network is not sufficiently adept at handling referrals from St John WA paramedics. Our ambulance service overwhelmed the Silver Chain PRA service when it was operating, and our patients were too complex for Dial a Doctor and apparently our own network of Urgent Care Centres. While we’d love to see these and similar services on offer, the development of these facilities is a wider WA Health problem and absolutely outside the scope of our Enterprise Agreement.
The model we have proposed is entirely enactable within our own Certified Enterprise Agreements, and will, we believe, go some way to reducing the Priority 3 & 4 burden on our front line emergency paramedics, whilst working within the confines of the current network of allied health which has limited reach into community.

Station Managers
SJA are finally addressing AEAWA’s desire to see SJA recruit Station Managers. They have identified up to 10 SM vacancies on allocated positions.
Management stated that the Staff Deployment department are contacting all current SM’s in an attempt to fill these vacancies, before ‘pre-recruitment’ is scheduled to begin in December 2021 and be finalised in February 2022, for an as yet unknown number of permanent SM’s, and also an additional number to go into a ‘SM pool’.

The AEAWA have welcomed this announcement despite it occurring 5 years late,  and have reiterated once again that these positions should be filled on true ‘merit’, which unfortunately has not been a pre-requisite with some other internal positions.

Casual Clause
SJA provided an amended to the Casual Clause in the hope it would interest the AEAWA negotiation team.
The reality is, enabling a larger casual paramedic workforce weakens our collective bargaining power, and we do not wish to make it easier for SJA to employ Casual paramedics, when MORE permanent paramedics are what is required.

We had hoped SJA had learned from their Casual ATO experiment in Transport that this is not an efficient way to run the service. Sadly it appears not.
AEAWA Response: We are not interested in their draft clause at this stage.

Night Shift Allowance

SJA responded disappointingly (but predictably) to AEAWA’s Night Shift Allowance claim.
AEAWA had sought an additional payment to incentivise employees to complete their full shifts including weekend nights. With the aim of providing a financial reward and reducing burden on an already depleted workforce.

Our proposal would see a unsociable hours payment of $100 for a Friday night shift and $200 for a Saturday night shift. To increase the chances of this being accepted and to encourage full crewing over weekends we stipulated that this would only be payable if the full set had been worked (or part thereof for PT staff).
SJA however, believe the current shift penalty and night shift allowance are more than adequate (clearly weekend staffing levels would demonstrate otherwise) and, they argue, unplanned leave would still occur as the employee demographic has demonstrated people will book off to attend social events (…the fact that they are likely to get smashed all night from two rocks to Mandurah has nothing to do with it apparently).

SJA have financially modelled the cost of AEAWA’s claim and stated it would cost approximately $950k across Metro and Country, AEAWA adamantly refuted their reasoning and calculations, and stated that unplanned leave is a culmination of the increased case volume and mismanagement of funding, support and resources, and NOT one of employee intent to socialise. Further, we would argue that the overtime cost to attempt to cover these shifts (and not nearly  succeed) would dwarf these figures.

AEAWA also made point that once again finances have overridden staff morale and community needs and that $950k is nothing compared to the financial vacuum that is the ‘Metropolitan Management Model’, which see’s Area Managers sitting in offices located in depots, while crews are ramped at hospital.
AEAWA Response: Our claim remains on the table.

Spare Officer Allowance claim (AEAWA)  
SJA rejected AEAWA’s claim for a ‘Spare Officer’ penalty as they believe any payment through travel allowance is sufficient and they believe mere $20,000 it would cost SJA would NOT be money well spent. AEAWA stated that in fact $20k is nothing in comparison to back filling vacancies (or not) and would indeed be money well spent.
AEAWA Response: The claim remains on the table.

Country Living Away from Home Allowance (SJA claim)
This was ‘Round 2’ of the most nonsensical claim on the table from SJA (quite some achievement given the competition).
First discussed in EBA meeting 5, you may remember St John are seeking to alter the ‘weekly’ allowance of $500 for officers on Country Relief who are ‘living away from home’ and convert this to a ‘daily rate’. SJA allege ‘people have told them’ that some Country Relief officers will occasionally visit family in Perth on days off, and thus they feel it appropriate to deduct (for each day) an amount of 1/7th of their LAFWH allowance while that person is alleged to be NOT ‘living away from home’, to ensure officers are compliant with Australian Tax Office rules regarding living away from home.

St John were of course advised that the personal travel details of these officers are none of their business, and that if the ATO has issue with it, then they can pursue the matter directly with that individual. Further, despite ad hoc travel between locations, these officers will genuinely be maintaining a home in Perth, and still require their booked accommodation to be available for them when they return from visiting loved ones, thus legitimately still incurring those expenses.
SJA claim this is not about saving money, but purely about the ATO rules regarding this allowance.

The AEAWA team are in complete disbelief that SJA appear to be attempting to POLICE the eligibility of this allowance, and thus interfere with a relationship which occurs between the individual and the ATO (via the officer’s Statutory Declaration). This would be similar to SJA demanding receipts for your annual uniform laundry Tax claim.  Any tax implications from this fall solely upon the individual employee, and not in any way upon SJA, who for all intents and purposes have completed their due diligence for FBT purposes once the employee supplies them with a Stat Dec.

Further, given the torrential amount of Country Relief and Short Notice Relief that they cannot currently fill, it would seem sensible to not attempt to reduce allowances further.
Some two EBA’s ago, St John negotiated a reduction in the accommodation / living away from home allowance for Country Relief to $500 per week, which at the new rate would be under the FBT reportable amount. This was agreed by all bargaining groups in good faith. Now it seems St John have returned for a second bite of the cherry. We respectfully have informed SJA: NOT ON THIS EARTH!!

Uniform Committee
SJA have finally agreed to commence a ‘Uniform Committee’ to implement change to a (hopefully) more appropriate and more versatile (region friendly) uniform.
They have stated that this committee will be made up of 2 representatives from each of the bargaining groups as well as Country and Metro management,
Supply and procurement personnel (and no doubt many other opinions from non-operational staff who don’t wear these items )
AEAWA welcome this announcement that we have repeatedly requested, and the inclusion of employee input,  we will certainly be making management aware that a version of the Coveralls is wanted as a stock item, plus suitable appropriate and comfortable maternity uniform.

St John sought to negate a number of claims (from both bargaining groups) by introducing a ‘Draft Consultation Framework’
SJA acknowledge that the Joint Consultation Committee (JCC) quarterly meetings have not been as effective as they would like.
St John hope that by providing a document outlining a ‘Draft Framework’, we will remove several of our claims from the table, in particular the Dispute Settling Procedure claim, Introduction of Change claims and the Return to Work claims.

We will need to digest this Draft Consultation framework document  properly, however, our initial response is that a piece of paper will not provide sufficient reassurance that true consultation will occur when St John propose major changes to working conditions and policy.

Sadly, we have seen time and again that St John have demonstrated a wilful disregard for feedback from the workforce, as evidenced most recently by changes to the Patient Flow & Ramping Policy which sought to change conditions and place of work by permitting single officer ramping duties. Similarly, all feedback in respect the South West Metropolitan Management Model has been completely ignored from both operational staff, and Area Managers. We don’t need to remind our members of the baby monitor fiasco at O’Connor depot.

We have countless examples where policy has been developed behind closed doors by St John, and rolled out to the wider workforce WHILE MANAGEMENT MEET with your representatives, supposedly in the name of consultation.

Our quarterly JCC meetings rarely if ever prompt change once St John have set the wheels in motion for their particular agenda.
We will respond formally to this draft framework in due course.

Next meeting will be 25 August 2021 9.30am

11th August, 2021 - EBA Meeting 17 Minutes

Dear members,

Today your negotiation team met with St John for the 17th scheduled EBA negotiation meeting.

Discussion today mainly sought to establish the status and current position of each party for all claims thus far. Even though some general discussion may have occurred on a particular subject, St John periodically like to perform some housekeeping to better understand where each party sit on all issues.

Today, United Workers Union (UWU) formally responded to the AEAWA counter proposal to the original St John ‘Clinically Appropriate Model of Care’ (CAMC). You can see the UWU position under the relevant heading below. However, we would just like to take this opportunity to clarify one point in particular. United Workers Union have begun to refer to our counter proposal as the ‘St John and AEAWA’ proposal, in an attempt to somehow associate our model with a plan from St John. We would just like to highlight that this counter proposal is in no way a St John proposal. The AEAWA counter proposal was based on member feedback and on what your negotiation committee feel are the critical issues crippling our ambulance service, and failing to respond to the community.

Your entire negotiation committee are ALL unpaid front-line ambos, not paid bureaucrats who’ve never worked on road. On a daily basis, our 750+ members see front-line ambulances tied up on inter-hospital transfers and low acuity work. St John initially dismissed our model, and it is only through shear force of argument have we convinced management to examine OUR proposal. This, we believe, is the whole point of negotiation and bargaining.

Secondly, while we welcome discussion with UWU on our proposal, we respectfully disagree with a number of points they have made in outlining their position to our proposal (though not all). We absolutely acknowledge their concerns, but overall, we feel our proposed model will address most if not all of the problems our members have raised with us, and which they continue to raise with us.

We will not however, enter into an argument with our bargaining counterparts. There is simply too much at stake with St John still attempting to remove many hard fought and hard-won conditions, to waste time and energy in disagreeing with UWU. We have a common opposition in this bargaining process and that is St John, not the alternate bargaining group. We have proposed our model based on feedback from our members, and while there is detail to work out (and full acceptance of the model by St John will still need to occur) the entire membership will ultimately decide if it is implemented when the whole EBA package is presented for vote.

Our strategy in these negotiations has always been guided by our membership. We encourage and welcome your thoughts and feedback on this or any other EBA topic on [email protected]

A summary of todays discussion is below:

SJA to confirm country conditions clause based on AEAWA feedback
Permanent conditions if appropriate for permanent Country officers, and addition to the clause will apply to officers in the region as long as they don’t move residence. SJA asked for comments and if it needs improvement to provide some information. The AEAWA will review the new ‘rostered away from allocated position’ proposal and will provide feedback in writing.

The AEAWA wanted SJA to define the term ‘region’ and SJA stated the term aligns with the locations previously utilised by SJA ie North West, South West, Greater Southern, Goldfields etc.

The AEAWA will respond in writing about some changes.

SJA to consider AEAWA changes to the proposed PSO clause
alignment to the SM3 rate and being returned to the substantive rank. SJA still wish for employees to give up their permanent positions to take up these appointments.
The AEAWA believe they should be the same as the CCP clause so if the position is removed and the role no longer exists officers can return back to their previous rank. For example, if an SM is appointed a PSO position and the role becomes obsolete or funding reduces current numbers, that officer will return to their substantive position, being a Station Manager.

The AEAWA stated that if the substantive rank was included in the wording (such as the CCP’s have), then we will likely be in agreeance with this clause.

Parental Leave and Transition to Retirement clauses
AEAWA to confirm response; SJA will respond to these requests on an ‘operational basis’. Obviously LSL needs to be approved, but whether this is at half pay is still to be decided.

The AEAWA would like further time to review the document, in principle we agree except for the ‘transition to retirement’ component. However, we are still fielding inquiries from officers in relation to ambiguity over these issues and we just want some points clarified. Long service leave at ½ pay across the board is the sticking point as SJA have only included this into the ‘transition to retirement’ clause.

North West Duties Allowance Adjustment
The AEAWA had previously highlighted that the extra two days worked (due to the extra two personal leave days SJA agreed in principle to) will put pressure on officers within North West locations. If officers surpass the shifts worked (10 days as currently stipulated) there is an offset cost, officers will undoubtedly be working more. Anything over an above those 2 days, will see officers coming in to fill these shifts and will need to be on double time. Another 16 days of cover will put pressure on workers left in the area, and, in our opinion they should be paid the OT to work these extra shifts. If people do start taking more sick leave depending on what shift this occurs on, the person who is on days off (and is required to cover the sick leave) will be penalised. We need to consider this and discuss further. The NW allowance is diminishing, and this is a further requirement that management expect North West officers to do.

SJA state that they want an ‘all cover regardless’ type arrangement. SJA state they will monitor this. They will also discuss the detail and return with a position. More discussion to come.

AEAWA Clinical Model of Care (counter proposal)
UWU responded to the AEAWA proposal. The expectation was that UWU would provide a counter proposal today (as they have been stating they will send in a proposal for the past 5 weeks).This did not occur. Instead, UWU stated the majority of their membership do not support the AEAWA model. ‘Acute P3’s’ as they describe low acuity calls in the community, should be reviewed solely by AP1 and above, in their opinion. UWU would prefer to have ‘Low Priority Assessment Paramedics’ (LPAPs) who should be attending to these low acuity calls to assess them, then through SOC would arrange a crew to transport them to hospital. While this model can yield positive results in other government run services (where ambulance is integrated much more thoroughly with other health services than in WA), we feel that this approach is less likely to result in positive patient outcomes in WA. St John has demonstrated absolutely no appetite for risk in this respect, and while we are constrained by the current system, we feel our approach will more deftly free up front line crews to attend the most acutely unwell patients.

UWU believe that all paramedic positions should be contained in the paramedic certified agreement. UWU state they have done a survey in which their membership responded to set questions (at no point was any data presented at the meeting). UWU state that registered paramedics attending patients are better for the community. If someone is registered the public should get this standard of care to protect patient safety. We do not disagree with this, and in fact our counter proposal utilises registered paramedics who are beginning their career to target low acuity work and gain patient experience before transitioning to emergency work.

The SJA Medical Director responded firstly by stating new proposed paramedic names will be discussed at a later date (meaning the ICP [AEAWA] and the LPAP [UWU]). Secondly, he felt P3’s should be allocated to the appropriate resource. SOC currently have ProQA and STT to identify these issues and ensure the correct triage is being done. In essence SOC do this rather than sending out a separate resource to have assess a patient.

Other medical people such as physios, mental health specialists etc, may be in dispatched in single response cars in the future. However, the Medical Director feels the right first move is not a response car assessment at this stage.

SJA agree there needs to be lower acuity transport capability, response cars to assess properly on scene with specialists and the correct triage performed on the phone when the call comes in is our position at this stage.

SJA asked some questions of UWU:

‘In the structure of tiering, were will this fit?’
UWU stated they have had little discussion but will sit between AO2 and AP1.

‘What would be an example of a normal call, basically if a LPAP attends a P3 in the community what would occur?’
UWU stated the initial triage in SOC may be wrong or may change before the initial response arrives as the PT may deteriorate. This model will have a face to face with the PT so a better triage of the PT can occur.

‘How are we addressing those patients that do need transport with this model’.
UWU- same as we do it now, send a crew. We haven’t really discussed this, but we would assume the current model would be the status quo, meaning we would just send a paramedic crew.

The AEAWA stated we will respond to a proposal from UWU, but not a statement.

A further question by SJA was asked;

‘Is UWU going to put any additional counter proposal forward’
UWU stated ‘we never intended to put in a proposal until AEAWA presented there claim. We felt we needed to put forward an alternative view to AEA’s’.
During these discussions ‘alternative pathways’ were mentioned, and SJA are open to talk about these at future meetings.

Critical Care Paramedic Clause
The AEAWA we are comfortable about the clause, and asked ‘what is the position of SJA for the country relief score for CCPs, at the moment they don’t accrue country hours’. SJA believe that as they are not filling a position on an ambulance, they are not completing a roster on the road, so they do not accrue a relief score.
SJA will have further discussion related to this in further meetings.

4×4 Roster Claim (SJA)
SJA would like to see newer officers into the service be placed onto a 4×4 shift as well as the current 224 or an EOI for current employees. SJA wish to increase the 4x4s substantially, with zero new 224’s being initiated. It appears no one requires an ambulance when you turn your head lights on.

SJA acknowledges that the first step to fill these positions is to exhaust the list system for officers on the day lists first, then an expression of interest, then the newer employees.
Officers on this new roster will rotate through various locations and start times (06:00-12:00), and will have ‘21 days’ notice to commence, and their shift will be for a minimum of 4 weeks as inline with the current certified agreement.

SJA want the ability to remove people off the 224 and place them anywhere at any start time.

The AEAWA believe this is a forced roster, and will not support this, as members taken off nights will lose the allowance and could be compromised financially.
Clause C in this section gives SJA the ability to MOVE ALL OFFICERS onto different start times and locations.

On Road Mentor clause
SJA proposal to rename ‘On Road Tutor’ to ‘On Road Mentor’
SJA want feedback on replacing tutor with mentor
The AEAWA simply stated ‘we want tutor to stay as defined and recognised within the certified agreement’.

SJA to respond to claims to amend allowance
The AEAWA want to increase the current tutor allowance as we believe this role carries a significant responsibility, and certainly one equal to or greater than that undertaken by college secondments.
SJA do not agree.

Country Conditions
SJA to confirm Country Conditions clause based on AEAWA feedback

Claim Summary
SJA went through the claims log for all parties, and ‘Not agreed’ was the theme of the day. The combined claims are also included.


We thank our members for their continued support and welcome feedback on [email protected]

Next meeting will be 18 August 2021 9.30am

4th August, 2021 - EBA Meeting 16 Minutes

Dear members,

Today your negotiation team met with St John for the 16th scheduled EBA negotiation meeting.

Discussion today mainly focused on the AEAWA counter proposal to the CAMC model initially proposed by SJA.

As we have outlined previously, we firmly believe our alternative approach will actually make a difference to response times and patient care, by freeing up front line ambulance paramedics to attend the highest acuity work, and diverting low acuity community P3’s, the vast majority of inter hospital transfers, RFDS Jandakot transfers, and select, CSP reviewed priority 2 patients to a new role of Transport Medic with an expanded low acuity workforce. This we feel is truly a clinically appropriate model of care.

While this model has been well received by St John, progress was unfortunately delayed today as our colleagues representing the alternate bargaining group have yet to establish a formal position in respect to our proposed alternate model, nor proposed a different approach for consideration. Without this, we are unable to work through any concerns and reach compromise.

We’d just like to take a moment to remind our members that your negotiation team are very much aware that ‘the devil is in the detail’ in terms of our proposed alternate model. While we are confident that we have an excellent framework to develop a model which will achieve better, more timely, and more appropriate patient care (while at the same time protecting conditions for our membership and our profession) we will continue to scrutinise each stage of the development to ensure no adverse consequences can arise down the line.

A summary of todays discussion is below:

Paramedic Special Operations

St John clarified the tasking criteria for PSO.

St John indicated that they are in the process of developing a position within SOC that will manage PSO tasking and CCP tasking, as well as help coordinate Emergency Management responses.

St John also sought to clarify the modified roster entitlements for PSO.

The AEAWA suggested an amendment which would secure the ability of a PSO to return to their substantive position in the event their position ends.

The AEAWA also proposed a PSO salary in accordance with SM3 rate of pay. St John agreed to consider this.

Leave Claims

As discussed last week, most leave claims are largely closed, however we have secured some important updates and concessions from St John in regards to existing entitlements.

Firstly, St John responded to some outstanding issues surrounding Parental Leave. In recent weeks it was proposed that country officers should receive location allowances while on parental leave. The AEAWA negotiation team supported and encouraged this proposal. Today St John have agreed in principle to provide parental leave entitlements pro-rata to part time employees, AND agreed in principal to provide eligible employees their location entitlements when on parental leave. Further, eligible employees will be able to access Long Service Leave at half pay while on parental leave.

The AEAWA have been campaigning for officers to be able to access Long Service Leave at half pay as part of a Transition to Retirement programme. To this end St John have AGREED and provided a draft ‘without prejudice’ amendment to Clause 37 which will allow officers to access this benefit. This is a substantial win for our members.

The AEAWA have pushed for Long Service Leave to be able to be taken at half pay for those officers on transition to retirement.

North West Duties Allowance

As you may know, the monetary value of the North West allowance is in part compensation for being required to cover their NW colleagues sick and personal leave.

In response to the increase in personal leave allowance of 2 additional days, the AEAWA sought clarification as to what compensation officers in the North West would receive as they presumably will soon be expected to cover this additional leave.

Today St John confirmed an increase to the North West allowance proportional to the amount of extra sick/personal leave they may be required to cover. Details will be provided once available.

AEAWA Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC) – Counter proposal

St John began discussion by stating that they are broadly supportive of of the counter proposal put forward by the AEAWA negotiation team.

They have provided a document which formalises the structure proposed by the AEAWA (attached).

In relation to Transport Medic aspect of the counter proposal, St John have indicated that they will accept the title of ‘Medic’ (presented as non negotiable by the AEAWA), but also indicated that the would like the Medic cohort to have ‘Paramedic’ on their ID card, so as to be able to identify themselves to hospital staff if required for certain patient transport cases requiring paramedic skills.

Scope will not be discussed as this is not part of the agreement, however it was indicated that if (for example) the patient has a patent IV line, it would make sense for the Medic to be able to use this (though not initiate insertion of IV)

In relation to the Internship proportion of the proposal (once officers enter the emergency ambulance service) and in response to pressure from the AEAWA, St John have REMOVED their original claim for a fixed term contract for those officers on an internship. Interns will now be PERMANENT employees and progress through the service into a paramedic role similarly to how SAO’s can progress.

Further, SJA have acknowledged AEAWA’s concerns and resistance to their CAMC classification of ‘Qualified Paramedic’ (a level that had a skill set and responsibility of Ambulance Paramedic however earned a remuneration significantly less than their AP colleagues, with NO guarantee of progression) and have withdrawn this classification from their log of claims.

St John indicated that Paramedic Interns would likely be on AO1 and AO2 salary and scope, which would be broadly aligned with these levels as they progress through the emergency side of ambulance services.

St John have acknowledged that this discussion will need to evolve in parallel with the Transport agreement, where these Medic’s will sit.

St John reiterated their claim for a title of ‘Clinical Lead’
The Medical Director stated that there are times when ‘less than ideal decisions are being made on scene’, and that these decisions are happening with some frequency.
For instance, patient destination in major trauma is often a decision in which there is disagreement between attending officers and CSP’s.

The Medical Director stated that there are times when a leadership role is needed on scene with the authority to potentially override a decision based on the fact that they generally attend to a much higher volume of high acuity work/critically ill patients.

The Medical Director indicated that with Major Trauma (for instance), only about 60% get taken to RPH as an initial destination, and that they would like to increase this number (among other clinical decisions) which can have a high impact on patient outcomes.

The AEAWA negotiation team gently pushed back by arguing that perhaps it should be the responsibility of clinical governance to ensure that officers who have potentially made inappropriate decisions (for instance, in regards to initial destination in major trauma) should be provided with support and training to enable a learning opportunity with that officer, which will potentially have a greater reach and impact for every scene that officer goes to in future, that the limited availability of a Clinical Lead, who can only be at one place at a time.

However, in saying that we do recognise that the current clinical structure is quite flat within St John and as such we are willing to discuss the potential introduction of a clinical role which could work with crews to help achieve better patient outcomes, though this needs to be done in conjunction with a discussion around the actual job description and structure of this role. We also have some reservations about the proposed title of ‘Clinical Lead’ and wish to explore alternatives which may have better connotations.

In relation to the AEAWA claim for recognition and alignment of our job title commensurate with our skillset (claim for ICP/ Intensive Care Paramedic job title), the Medical Director stated that he has contacted other emergency services around Australia to discuss what would constitute Intensive Care Paramedic in their jurisdictions, and as a result of these discussions with other jurisdictions, it is his opinion that we do not quite meet the level of ICP here in Western Australia. St John however did indicate that we sit above what would constitute a base ‘paramedic’ in many other jurisdictions, and expressed a willingness to explore a re-naming of ‘Ambulance Paramedic’ to something such as ‘ALS Paramedic’ or Advanced Care Paramedic’. Our initial response is that our claim for ICP remains on the table and we are confident a skill matrix comparison would look favourably on our argument. The AEAWA team will investigate further and respond in due course,

Critical Care Paramedics (CCP)

St John indicated they would like to introduce 3 Critical Care Paramedics on road (North/Central/South) and that they would run 24/7.

They have presented a draft clause which outlines the conditions of the role. This clause will be examined over the next week and we will respond in due course. At first glance it appears that this clause will have an impact on the metro depot allocated positions held by some CCP’s. Historically CCP’s have been able to retain their metro depot position as the CCP helicopter role has been linked with a contract with DFES, which will be open for tender later this year. The draft clause seeks to create a new allocated position of CCP, so that irrespective of the status of the DFES helicopter project, officers will remain a CCP and therefore cannot hold two allocated positions.


Next meeting will be 11th August 2021

Kind regards

AEAWA Negotiation Team

28th July, 2021 - EBA Meeting 15 Minutes

Dear members,
Today your negotiation Team met with St John for the 15th scheduled EBA negotiation meeting. It will be a shorter update this week as much of the discussion surrounded details of proposed clauses and minor updates, and there was no agenda item for the Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC)

Country Station Managers – Last week a proposal was made to allow Country AP’s to gain Station Manager experience by potentially filling their local Station Manager position on relief when vacant. Suggestions were made that could facilitate this mechanism while not disadvantaging Metro Station Managers who already have limited opportunity to undertake country relief. Suggestions were made which could potentially see Metro SM’s ‘backfill’ the Country AP position as a relief opportunity, and support the Country AP in ‘acting up’. St John indicated that there would likely be some additional expenses and proposed a trial which would help establish costs involved in various solutions as well as benefits or difficulties.

Paramedic Special Operations – St John proposed a Paramedic Special Operations clause which creates (as sought) as classification of Paramedic Special Operations (PSO) and a proposed Special Operations salary of $120,000 per annum. At this stage St John have not indicated how they have aligned the proposed figure. We have sought clarification from St John on what types of situation will result in a PSO activation, and what remains in the domain of Ambulance Paramedic.

Leave Claims – As discussed last week, your negotiation team achieved a significant offer from St John in relation to Personal Leave increase from by 2 days, which was offered to close off other leave claims. We have sought further clarification on SAO Exam Leave mechanisms to ensure student ambulance officers are not left disadvantaged, but otherwise this section of the EBA has reached broad agreement (as usual, subject to the final package being agreed).

Declared Emergency Clause – St John have provided excerpts from the relevant legislation (Emergency Management Act 2005 & Regulations 2006) which bestows a status of ‘combat agency’ upon the organisation. St John believe their status as a combat agency means they should be able to insert a Declared Emergency clause into our EBA which will give them unprecedented powers to alter your working conditions, hours of work, and shift pattern. It is the opinion of both bargaining groups that, according to the legislation, the obligations on St John are nothing more than ‘emergency management activity for providing health services’. Nothing in the legislation extends to the employees of St John, and our EBA is the governing document for our conditions. St John WA, as a private company, may well be listed as a ‘combat agency’ but it’s employees are not.
Again, there have been NO actual emergencies in which scores of paramedics have NOT offered assistance, offered to vary hours, extend shifts and work on days off. When disasters and emergencies occur, our members always offer to help. There has been NO need for this clause until now, and St John wish to introduce it purely because the COVID-19 pandemic has hit them financially. By agreeing to a ‘declared emergency clause in this context we would be agreeing to allow St John to cut shifts and hours of work, move you across shift patterns and colours, and any other action St John feel might be necessary during a ‘declared emergency’

Rostering / 27 & 47 Vehicle / Allocations Positions / Shift Allocations
This section of the agenda saw robust discussion due to the fact that management and the bargaining groups are diametrically opposed.
St John wish to remove the default shift allocation entirely, and remove the ability to make new allocated positions.
St John also indicated they want the ability to place NEW employees straight onto a default 4×4 shift pattern.
St John propose to do this by tabling a modification to clause 26.4 Metropolitan Roster
To support operational demand an employee as referred to in clause 26.4 (b) (i) and (ii) above may be assigned a Permanent Shift on a 4X4 roster in accordance with clause 26.5.
SJA stated that their intention was to build capacity into the 4X4 roster by having ‘spare’ officers rostered permanently to cover for unplanned leave as late day ambulances were not being covered at the moment and establishment numbers were diminished, SJA believe that by rostering employees spare or rotational to this 4X4 roster will solve their problems as the ‘modelling demonstrates that peak demand periods occur in this timeframe’. The AEAWA believe the response times would tell a different story and we believe St John are simply shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Management quoted a Metropolitan Operations figure that over a 7 day period totaling 805 shifts (41 x  2/2/4 night, 41 x 2/2/4 day, 33 day ambulance multiplied by 7 = 805 (we may finally have cracked the ‘Establishment’ code) there were 25 shifts that could not be covered by O/T equating to approximately 3% of shifts, and that this is their basis for the proposed amendment of the clause. In contrast, the AEAWA believe that simply building in standby capacity as recommended by the Joyce Inquiry would solve this issue.
SJA state that they believe this ‘peak period’ time is expanding and they need to concentrate the existing workforce in this peak period space. Again, the AEAWA believe that it is the growing low acuity workload which occurs throughout the day and night which is the real problem facing our service, and that our counter proposal to the Clinically Appropriate Model of Care would mostly address this.

SJA then stated that it was their intention to offer these rotational 4X4 to permanent positions to ‘new employees’ as a condition of contract. In complete disbelief, the AEAWA negotiation team repeatedly reminded SJA management that they would have no problem filling 4X4 day ambulance positions with existing employees.
In relation to permanent positions, the AEAWA wish to strengthen the 27 & 47 Vehicle clause by removing any ambiguity, and mandate the creation of new allocated positions after 12 months has elapsed.

Management gave their perspective on what benefits like shift and vehicle permanency can look like in other industries (in particular WAPOL), where Police officers have tenure and work at a station for 2-3 years, without necessarily being allocated to a shift/vehicle/crew. It was highlighted to St John that Police officers usually express a preference for the St John system in conversation, and that they find their own short term tenure system frustrating and unsettling.

Management attempted to justify their preference for a system where no new allocated positions are created as being a system which provides ‘stability for spare officers’. They argued that 27 & 47 vehicles provide ‘consistency’ for spares and rotational officers. Both bargaining groups countered that the system only needs ‘stability for spares’ because St John have in fact grown the volume of spares consistently each year while not creating a single new allocated position for over 6 years. The latest vehicles to see the creation of allocated positions have only been advertised after the AEAWA formally entered into the dispute resolution process, and which we officially remain in dispute over a further 16 vehicles. If the organisation had in fact kept up with growth in demand and created new depots and new vehicles to meet the growth in population and 000 call volume, the service would not have anywhere near the number of ‘spare’ and ‘rotational’ officers.

All bargaining groups unanimously declined to allow any weakening of the permanent allocations system, and reinforced the message to management that there is NO appetite for this kind of change.

Secondments – St John have put forward a proposal to increase secondment length from 2 years (extendable to 3), to 4 years (extendable to 5). Our response is simple, that we will not agree to any change given that the organisation has consistently and repeatedly violated and exploited loopholes in the existing clause, to the extent we have needed to escalate their behaviour over secondments to the Fair Work Commission.

Next meeting will be 4th August 2021

Kind regards

AEAWA Negotiation Team

21st July, 2021 - EBA Meeting 14 Minutes

Dear members,

Today your negotiation Team met with St John for the 14th scheduled EBA negotiation meeting.

Significant progress was made today in relation to CAMC and Leave claims, as detailed below.

Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC) / Classification Proposal

SJA responded to the AEAWA counter proposal seen here and while officially they indicated that their original CAMC model remains on the table, they did appear to show significant interest in our counter proposal, especially from our Medical Director and Ambulance Director. St John offered that ProQA is an imperfect system, and that there is occasionally ‘sick people in all categories’ including P3 which ProQA sometimes misses, and so we should aim for a system with minimises risk to patients.

It was highlighted to SJA that we are missing ‘sick people’ all the time at the moment because all crews are tied up. The Achilles heel of the organisation (in addition to ramping) is low priority calls in the community, which are preventing emergency ambulances from getting to the sickest patients. St John were also reminded that Patient Transport crews are ALREADY working in the community, and routinely attend community calls out of hours, when they revert to dispatch by SOC. What we are proposing is an upskill of this existing current practice, and an expansion of it, which will in fact increase patient safety, while also freeing up front line emergency crews to attend the higher acuity case load.

St John agree that are current response times are not acceptable, however, they reiterated that they are concerned about the potential for sick people in the P3 ‘bucket’. The AEAWA countered that if the organisation (through our proposal) gains a CAPABILITY to get SOME FORM OF RESPONSE to these outstanding P3’s which have been waiting for 3,4, or even 5 hours, then at least they are given an opportunity for those calls to be upgraded by our proposed Transport Medic classification, whereas under the current situation these patients are getting NO response.

Based on feedback from our members, which has been overwhelmingly positive, the AEAWA executive went on to present in greater detail our counter proposal and provided the parties with a broad outline document (attached), reiterating that this remains a ‘discussion’ document only at this stage, but that we are hopeful it forms the start of a more formal development.

SJA and in particular the Medical Director were receptive to our proposal, but indicated that, at first glance they would like to have these ‘Transport Medics’ be able to administer IV fentanyl (though NOT to have a cannulation skill) for inter facility transfers where the patient may already have IV access. SJA Medical Director compared this with an ED setting, where nurses may not have obtained a cannulation skill, but they are still all able to check and administer medication. The scope of these proposed officers ultimately remains the prerogative of the medical director, and if IV maintenance means front line emergency crews are no longer tied up on inter hospital transfers, then that must be good for the community.

Country ambulance management were also receptive and could see the benefits of these Transport Medics freeing up country paramedics by undertaking the inter facility transfers, particularly in the Southwest Region of WA. SJA raised the issue of pay scale, however, the AEAWA advised that whatever salary is proposed will need to be commensurate with skills and registration and SJA should propose a salary classification for our members to consider.

Discussion took place regarding the mentoring process for the proposed Transport Medics. Whilst this is detail which will need to be worked out thoroughly in due course, the AEAWA offered that in the initial phase mentoring of these new staff would most likely need to take place by emergency paramedics, though once sufficient numbers are trained and experiences, the Transport Medic cohort would potentially be able to mentor their own new Medics, though this is of course open for discussion.

The AEAWA reiterated that this proposal IS NOT designed to take high priority / high acuity work away from paramedics (that is in fact the last thing that we want) and we will put safeguards in place to ensure this cannot develop toward that situation. What we and our members are looking for is a workable way to address the LOW PRIORITY workload which is draining the resources of the highly trained and experienced emergency paramedics. Getting a resource to these outstanding low priority calls will actually help determine which calls DO need to be upgraded. At the moment, these unfortunate 000 callers are not getting any timely response.

We are also committed to securely protecting this proposal to ensure no overzealous managers can exploit the qualification of the Transport Medics, to attempt to replace front line emergency ambulance crews, and the location of these Transport Medics within the Transport Agreement is one safeguard. We will also ensure the skill mix and crew formation definitions clearly prevent exploitation of the Transport Medics in our proposal, and also offer assurance to our Transport members that they will not have to work with this new role if they choose not to.

Discussion briefly touched on the AEAWA claim for ICP classification for AP’s, with your negotiators referencing a skill mapping process that was conducted a few years previously, which identified SJA base level paramedics as at or near ICP in some jurisdictions.

SJA committed to give the proposal much further thought. Overall, the feeling of your negotiation team is that SJA were positive and receptive to this proposal.

United Workers Union delegates raised some concerns regarding the AEAWA counter proposal for addressing low acuity workload.

In brief, the concerns of UWU are as follows:

UWU are against using a ‘transport level of care’ for primary response to the community except in exceptional circumstances. They believe that emergency paramedics should continue to be utilised for the initial assessment of patients in the community, including community priority 3’s and priority 4’s. UWU are not against the expansion of the current PTO model and believe there may be opportunity to use PTOs in the continued management and transport of appropriate patients, but only after initial emergency paramedic assessment. UWU are supportive of a transport paramedic classification within paramedic EBA. However, they only support the primary utilisation of these positions being for inter hospital patient transport – or the transport of lower acuity patients in the community once these patients have been assessed by higher level emergency paramedics (AP1 and above)

The AEAWA committee welcome this discussion which we hope will bring about a model of care which will safely and effectively free up-front line emergency crews to attend serious emergencies. It is this low acuity workload which we believe is crippling our ability to respond to actual emergency calls. In short, UWU delegates would like to see a situation whereby frontline emergency paramedics first attend low acuity Priority 3 and 4 calls, assess the patient, and then refer them to a Patient Transport for transport to hospital.

In brief response to UWU’s concerns, we feel that their proposal (whereby an emergency paramedic crew initially attends the scene and assesses the patient) would involve a significant amount of ‘double handling’, as an emergency crew will first need to attend, then assess, then refer to Patient Transport, and then effectively document an ePCR justifying no initial transport. This process will then be followed by Patient Transport attendance (? when), further assessment and further documentation. We feel that this initial assessment and documentation phase by emergency crews would in fact be quite time consuming and would likely incur social pressures on the initial attending crew from both the patient and family as to why they would not transport the patient immediately. It is our view that UWU’s model only works where single responder ECP’s perform the initial attendance, and indeed SJA highlighted that they are opposed to sending two ambulances to low acuity work, rather than just one.

UWU’s suggestion will also not result in the significant level freeing up of front-line emergency resources as our own proposal, which would see the initial response to all low acuity priority 3’s and 4’s undertaken by AHPRA registered Transport Medics. Further, should a Transport Medic arrive on scene and find a situation outside their skill set, they can call a backup emergency ambulance, bearing in mind our model forecasts that emergency ambulances will be more available (as not tied up on P3 and P4 calls), but most importantly that patient will have a timely response. UWU want emergency paramedics to assess all calls, as they believe the higher clinical level is important in safely assessing patients in the community, but we should remember that lay ‘First Responders’ are activated via an app, and volunteers in country locations to attend to ALL priority calls. We believe what we are proposing is safe and attempts to get a timely response to all patients and target the highest clinical level at the highest acuity, thereby achieving a Clinically Appropriate Model of Care.

We will also take this opportunity highlight to our membership that Transport is ALREADY routinely attending low acuity community calls, and historically this has a significant part of their role. Priority 3 community calls often take the form of nursing home patients where routine bloodwork identified an issue (‘Low Hb, GP requests ED’ or ‘Fall 2/7, x-ray shows fracture, to ED’). There is actually very little required for these types of call except transport, and it is our opinion they do not need an emergency crew to attend first.

What we are proposing is that suitable AHPRA registered Transport Medics attend these lower acuity patients and genuinely free up emergency paramedic crews to attend those most in need. Further, we feel that our model provides a great entry point into the service, a great way to learn the paramedicine profession, and a transition to retirement opportunity. We feel this this model will assist in managing pressures in country locations swamped with transfers, and also offer a career option for ATO’s wishing to complete a paramedic degree and move into a Paramedic Internship.

Finally, in addressing UWU’s preference for a classification of Transport Paramedic within the Ambulance Officer & Paramedic Agreement, we have concerns here as this could mean:

The ability for St John to blend crews as required which would leave any reformatted model open to exactly the kind of abuses we want to guard against (erosion/phase out of frontline emergency crews and their replacement by hybrid crews). Two employees working in the same vehicle but on different conditions (Transport Medic & ATO) for instance meals breaks under Transport but not currently under Paramedic Agreement, different hours of work etc). If your partner books off, you could be tasked to form a Transport Medic crew.

It is our position that the safeguarding of both Transport industry and the Paramedic sector is best services by the proposed Transport Medics being contained under the Transport Agreement. This will ringfence the proposed new classification and prevent abuse by St John in years to come.

Leave Claims
SJA responded to various leave claims from both bargaining groups.

First the bad news:
St John declined the smaller leave block claim based on their fact where a block of 4 shifts falls can vary the amount of time off/leave funded. St John decline the deferred salary scheme (4 years at 80%, 5th year off at 80%)

Next the good news:
As mentioned in our earlier post, St John have agreed ‘in principle’ to increase Personal Leave allocation by TWO days, this offer was made to settle our 2 Leisure Days/Mental Health days claim, and other outstanding leave flexibility claims. Your negotiators successfully argued that due to this benefit already being available to employees under the Administration and Support Agreement for office workers it was therefore hard for St John to reasonably justify not extending this benefit to our Agreement.

St John offered 2 extra leave personal days, which can be taken without evidence if taken in singular absences. The two or more consecutive absences will still require a Statutory declaration.

The AEAWA have also asked for clarification for the NW officers who are expected to cover sick leave within the NW allowance, would anything cover above the current requirement be paid as overtime (currently covered as part of their requirement).

St John ALSO support an option to take Annual Leave at half pay.

SJA will look at this request for next meeting. The AEA have asked that they consider Long Service leave also at half pay.

Your negotiation team believe that this concession from St John, in conjunction with the positive special leave balance of 96 hours and doubling of the Defence Service Leave constitutes a significant leave reform package, and, if agreed into the final package will be a significant boost to conditions.

Special Operations Paramedic
Parties to discuss PSO classification (SJA, UWU, AEAWA, EBR)
Management was to respond to the discussion regarding how the on call/ deployment roster would look like but will do this at the next meeting.

Declared Emergency clause
SJA to respond to UWU and AEAWA position

Clause presented however AEA have asked for the various statutes/clauses and associated acts that they a referencing their claim upon. They will forward through and discuss next meeting.

Station Manager clauses etc. presented by EBR held over as the representative was absent today.

Next meeting will be 28 July 2021

Kind regards

AEAWA Negotiation Team

14th July, 2021 - EBA Meeting 13 Minutes

Today your negotiation Team met with St John for the 13th scheduled EBA negotiation meeting.

We hope our members will be pleased to hear that we have had some success in relation to Special Leave (details below) and further, that following significant feedback from our members regarding the unsuitability of the Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC) we have today suggested a counter proposal which we feel will more appropriately deal with the LOWER acuity workload which is the real problem that is hampering the ambulance services’ ability to respond to emergency work.

Job Share
Today the parties formally responded to the proposed changes to the Job Share clause by St John. Discussion mainly centred on the mechanism to manage ‘time out of allocated position’ and what ‘allocated position’ actually means. This is more complicated than it sounds, with differing opinions on whether your allocated position is a ‘depot’ as it was historically (all depots used to just have one vehicle) or a ‘vehicle’ (which has become more recently accepted definition as multi-crew depots and day ambulances have come online. There is often contradictions amongst St John’s own policy also. This component of the Job Share clause needs to be carefully managed to ensure the application is as fair as possible, without having unintended ramifications on allocated positions more generally.

Special Leave
Success! Last week you will remember your negotiation team stood firm against St John’s refusal to move on increasing the number of Special Leave positions from 6%, and insisted they consider an increase.

Today St John indicated they AGREE to increase the number of Special Leave positions from 6% to 7% of the workforce, per shift. This will mean an increase from 6 to 8 Special Leave positions available PER SHIFT.

In conjunction with the earlier agreement to increase total maximum positive Special Leave balance to 96 hours, this constitutes a significant negotiation win from your team, and will mean that officers could theoretically (with some good planning and special leave spot availability) schedule up to an additional 5 weeks off.

Further, you will remember we also pushed St John to reducing some of the blackout periods, currently unavailable for Special Leave bookings to only include the gazetted public holidays.

St John have returned this week and agreed to reduce the Special Leave blackout periods to the following: Gazetted public holidays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Australia Day, gazetted public holidays during Easter, and public holidays which are carried forward through falling on a weekend. This is constitutes a significant improvement from previously blocked out 24-31 December, and Easter Good Friday to Easter Monday.

We have also secured improvements in the payout of Special Leave, the payout of which will now not be unreasonably refused, and while generally being paid out at your primary position rate (at double time), St John will pay out Special Leave at a higher rate if you can demonstrate that you have accrued the Special Leave at a higher rate (i.e. a timecard demonstrating you accrued the hours while working as a. CSP, or Acting SM).

Country Station Manager
Discussion here centred around formulating a way in which Country SM vacancies could potentially be filled by local country AP’s, without disadvantaging Metro SM’s from having opportunities to undertake Country Relief (currently they are limited to SM country relief positions). It was suggested that AP’s in Country locations could ‘act up’ into a role, thereby gaining experience in performing the Country SM role, but that the AP vacancy created by their ‘acting up’ could in turn be back filled by a metro SM to help support the AP acting up. In this way Metro SM’s would still be able to undertake country relief. This was generally supported by all bargaining groups.

Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC)
St John revisited their CAMC model and today attempted to provide some updates to the model which they hope will be more palatable to our members. Firstly, and importantly St John agreed to consider dropping the ‘fixed term 2 year contract’ component from their proposal. This will provide job security for new employees. St John then opened the floor for general discussion regarding the model.

As our members will be no doubt aware, discussion regarding the CAMC has been circular and non-productive.
We have now re-iterated numerous times that the MAJOR problem facing St John and our members is at the LOWER ACUITY workload, and that their current CAMC model does nothing to address lower acuity as it simply inserts a capped salary for new frontline emergency Paramedics, and seeks to reduce by 50% the number of Ambulance Paramedics enjoying AP1-AP3 salary.

Feedback from our membership indicates crews on road want a ‘tier down’, which will free them up to enable a timely response to emergency work. Our members are generally supportive of Critical Care on road, but their priority is a model which is actually ‘clinically appropriate’ and dispatches an appropriate response to lower activity cases.
Today, after 14 weeks of zero progress, the AEAWA submitted a counter proposal which we feel will actually deal with the problem of front line emergency ambulance crews being tied up with low priority community work, priority 2, 3 and 4 inter- hospital transfers, and Jandakot / RFDS transfers (many of which further tie up front line crews on the ramp). Our proposal is based on member feedback, while being tailored to ensure it meets many of the needs of the business to maximise its chance of being implemented.

Our counter proposal is as follows:

St John should rapidly grow the Transport sector of the organisation to undertake the lower acuity workload affecting Priority 1 and 2 response times
St John should up-skill a proportion of the Transport workforce to enable more routine attendance at community based calls triaged Priority 4, Priority 3 and potentially (CSP reviewed suitable) Priority 2 calls, plus (and critically) monitored inter-facility transfers.
This process will likely include actively recruiting of AHPRA registered officers, with a tentatively proposed job title of ‘Transport Medic’.
Ambulance Transport Officers can still be recruited for typical Transport duties, and we have secured an undertaking that existing Transport Officers will not be obligated to work with new Transport Medics.
St John can then rapidly recruit and on-board emergency Ambulance Paramedics from this Transport Medic pool through an ‘Intern Paramedic’ programme
The Intern Paramedic Programme will be composed of Intern Paramedic level 1 and level 2, which includes completion of a combined intermediate and transition style module and a tentative 108 shifts at each level.

The Intern Paramedic Programme must be composed of ‘permanent’ staff, not officers on ‘fixed term contracts’. This is essential and non-negotiable.
Once the Intern Paramedic programme is complete, these Paramedics then progress through the the levels of Ambulance Paramedics, proposed to be renamed classification of  ‘Intensive Care Paramedic 1, 2 and 3’

Direct Entry Paramedics can also separately enter the service into the Intern Paramedic programme, bypassing the Transport Medic stage
Step down to Transport Paramedic can be an option for Transition to Retirement.

The increased size of the Transport workforce will free up front line emergency Paramedics to respond to high acuity emergencies in the community, the number one concern of our membership
The increased size of Transport, with a pool of AHPRA registered Transport Medics will mean St John has a large recruitment pool to rapidly and dynamically increase the size of front line emergency ambulance crews, with minimal on-boarding.
Currently the SAO programme can take 4 years+ to obtain a ‘Paramedic’, this proposal will dramatically shorted that period to 2 years (plus recruitment time) and enable St John to be more responsive to increasing demand.
This model is suitable for Country locations, where it would assist in meeting the huge number of country inter hospital transports, which destroy emergency response capability each day.
This proposal will enable ‘Transport Medics’ to actively gain patient care experience following graduation, plus experience in using St John equipment, stretcher, vehicles, hospitals and St John internal CPG’s.
This proposal will mean St John can more economically deal with a proportion of it’s low acuity workload and compete for Inter Facility Transport contracts offered by WA Health.
This model preserves the current crew formation, which St John had planned to erode 50% of permanent Ambulance Paramedics positions and replace with lower paid Qualified Paramedics.
This model secures natural career progression within the Paramedic and AO agreement, removing the initially proposed barriers to progression of rank and salary.
The proposal will mean job security for our members in Transport who are facing increasing competition from Wilson, NPT and lately Falke.

Importantly, this counter proposal protects the current average wage of front line emergency Paramedics within Western Australia.
This proposal eliminates the damaging changes to our workforce and prevents the split in conditions.

The AEAWA are very aware of potential of any revised system to be abused and potentially be used to supplant and deplete our Ambulance Paramedic workforce. We will therefore ‘ring fence’ this proposal to prevent St John utilising these Transport Medics for routine attendance at Priority 1 and 2 cases, while still allowing St John to undertake lower acuity work more economically.

St John will not be permitted to split crews or supplement front line staffing with this model
The job title/classification is critical to ensure the public are aware of the scope of the officers who attend them, and to further prevent this model bleeding over into general emergency work.

We recognise that the SAO programme has been immensely valuable in allowing mature age entry to the profession over many years, and generates a very high quality paramedic, but we also understand that the programme restricts the flow of paramedics into the service, and that WA is the last state to operate this model. In light of the abundance of Graduate paramedics being churned out of universities across Australia, we have to acknowledge that the SAO programme may be outmoded. Our best course then may be to ensure it’s replacement still generates the highest quality officers, through gaining experience as a Transport Medic, and then through an Intern Paramedic programme.

Acceptance of our proposal will require a clause which clearly defines acceptable crew mix. Skill set of the Transport Medic workforce would generally be limited to BLS, IN fentanyl/Naloxone, IM injections, and cardiac monitoring.

are not opposed to CCP on road and have encouraged St John to role this out, but informed St John that the majority of our membership see low acuity as the main priority that needs to be fixed.

The above constitutes the AEAWA counter proposal based on member feedback, but it is subject to negotiation and hopefully just beings a discussion where progress can be made to address some of the actual ‘clinically appropriate’ handling of low acuity work.

Deferred Salary Leave
Discussion postponed due to CAMC counter proposal

Annual Leave and Long Service Leave Flexibility Claims
Discussion postponed due to CAMC counter proposal

Special Operations Paramedic (PSO)
It is St John position that there will be two groups of PSO’s, a group of permanent PSO’s (who would not be permitted to hold dual roles) and a pool of PSO’s, which would be permitted to hold dual roles).
Remuneration will need to be considered for permanent PSO vs pool PSO.

Declared Emergency Clause
Discussion Postponed due to CAMC counter proposal

Next meeting will be 21  July 2021 9.30am

7th July, 2021 - EBA Meeting 12 Minutes

Dear members,

Following last weeks cancelled (lockdown) EBA meeting, a restricted number of your mask-wearing negotiation team today met with management for the 12th negotiation meeting in an attempt to find some common ground in amongst the weeds. We fully appreciate that some of these topics may be of zero interest to many of you, but we’ll provide the updates for the 6 or 7 people they might affect…and so should you ever become a Job Share Special Operations Paramedic in the North West, you’ll be set.

However, these discussions do have real implications for many of our members, and these details do need to be discussed and agreed at some point. These clauses are often not felt to be important, until you actually need them. So please suffer through the detail with us! Please also rest assured that there is PLENTY of time left in the negotiation phase to discuss the outrageous claims that St John seek to introduce that will generally ruin your conditions and devalue your profession…it’s just that those discussions did not take place today.

Proposed PSO Clause
The AEAWA provided a draft PSO clause to St John WA for their consideration. This clause seeks to create a position of ‘Paramedic Special Operations’ within the agreement which will recognise the skills and training of these officers, and clarify the on call arrangement for ‘deployments’ only. ‘Deployments’ are generally longer distance responses requiring living away from home or travel overseas and would involve a minimum of 24 hours notice. It is these responses for which St John now propose an ‘on call’ component
‘Activations’ are generally more local responses, and here we feel an on-call roster is unnecessary. These type of activations should be handled by a rostered on-road position and NOT an on-call system.

St John want to know if officers who hold a permanent PSO position should be restricted from holding dual roles (such as CCP, CSP, CPHC) or if they are restricted to PSO role. The AEAWA believe this is an issue which, requires discussion with multiple groups who would potentially be affected, and so St John should provide their preferred arrangement (dual role or not) and we will discuss and formulate a response. St John indicated that at this stage they have not determined an official position as to whether they intend to seek to restrict dual roles or not, however management did indicate that the competing interests of people holding dual roles is problematic from an operations perspective.

AEAWA Response
The AEAWA indicated that much of this discussion will hinge on what the contract to provide a PSO/USAR type response with the government mandates, and what size of response they are obligated to provide if requested by government, as this would determine how ‘available’ the pool of PSO officers would need to be, and how large that group of PSO’s should be.

Special Leave Clause
St John sought feedback on their proposed Special Leave clause. In regards to Special Leave ‘blackout periods’ (where officers traditionally are unable to book Special Leave) the AEAWA still firmly believe that the ONLY days that should be restricted from special leave access should be the gazetted public holidays, and all other days should be eligible. New Year’s Eve night shift would be considered a gazetted day as 7 hours of that shift falls on the public holiday. St John are at this stage refusing to discuss changes to the current blackout periods, despite their own data showing a downturn in ambulance demand over Easter and Anzac Day over the past 4 years.

Discussion took place surrounding Special Leave portability while on country relief. The AEAWA position is that an officer should be able to accrue Special Leave locally while on relief and use it locally, or choose to bring their positive Special Leave balance back to metro.

AEAWA Response
The AEAWA welcome the increase to 96 hours positive Special Leave accrual, which reflects the increase we have argued for, but we remain dissatisfied with SJA’s refusal to increase the availability of Special Leave spots from 6% to 8%. We are willing to meet St John half way at 7% and this was proposed to St John who will consider this and respond in due course. We are still also committed to reducing some of the blackout periods, currently unavailable for Special Leave bookings. We will defer any agreement to this clause pending discussion of our other claims which also seek to introduce more leave flexibility.

Declared Emergency Clause
Discussion occurred again today regarding the proposed ‘Declared Emergency’ clause. St John have been keen to use examples of ‘cyclone’ and building collapse in discussions of example emergency situations, but it is worth remembering that since 15th March 2020 we are CURRENTLY under a declared ‘State of Emergency’ due to the COVID19 response as per the Emergency Management Act 2005 (WA), and since 16th March 2020 we have also separately been under a ‘Public Health State of Emergency’, under section 167 of the Public Health Act 2016.

It is no coincidence that St John have raised this ‘Declared Emergency’ clause at this EBA negotiation. They have not once mentioned COVID response as an example but this appears a likely motivation, and would certainly meet criteria. We will not agree to any clause which will give St John complete control over your shift pattern or hours of work in response to this pandemic, for which, as an organisation we REMAIN largely unprepared despite having had the reprieve of the lowest transmission rates around the world for the last 12 months+

AEAWA Response
The AEAWA remain sceptical about this clause and have refused to approve at this stage. We will be seeking legal advice.

Reasonable Overtime/Shift Extension
SJA responded to the AEAWA claim regarding Reasonable Overtime. St John stated that they understand that shift extensions have been growing lately but that there are a number of factors outside of their control. St John have committed to develop a policy that will ‘automate’ a takeover crew for ramped crews, but these takeover crews can still be tasked to community calls en route to to the hospital.

While we welcome the intent of this policy initiative, we will NOT be appeased by the creation of ‘policy’ alone, and want the surety of a actual EBA clause to help minimise and control (avoidable) shift extensions. Further, this proposed policy will not address those P2 transfers at 17:40 that will no doubt be ramped and triaged P4 at the receiving hospital, nor will it address long distance P3 transfers from the peripheral hospitals that come in at 1710, nor a CPAT P3 allocated to a crew at 1700, all of which are impossible to turn around before the end of your planned shift. Our proposed clause still ensures emergency calls in the community are attended to immediately, it just allows for greater discretion for our members to finish on time with  non-urgent calls. Again, in a sufficiently resourced service that pushes back where possible against ramping, these issues would not be surfacing at negotiations.

In terms of the draft ‘reasonable overtime’ clause provided by the AEAWA, St John have refused to accept the inclusion of any definition of reasonable overtime.

AEAWA Response:
Our claim for a reasonable overtime clause WILL ABSOLUTELY REMAIN on the table. We firmly believe we have a strong argument with Fair Work to pursue this all the way to the commission if required.

Defence Service Leave
The AEAWA claim was to increase Defence Service Leave from 4 shifts to 10 shifts. SJA have proposed to increase the number of paid days of Defence Service Leave from 4 days to 8 days. While this is a welcome offer, we remain committed to the claim for a full 10 days paid Defence Service leave. As highlighted by our members, it is somewhat ironic that St John as an organisation celebrates National Volunteer week and claims as one of it’s core values ‘Shaping the Community’. St John are also happy to have their volunteers abandon their full time jobs to attend emergencies in the community. By declining to meet our claim for 10 days Defence Service Leave, St John are demonstrating that they do not value the contribution of our Defence Reserves to our community, nor support people volunteering their time to the defence of our country. It was highlighted to St John that the increase to a full 10 days of Defence Service Leave would cost a mere $15k additionally per year, and this will still only provide half the 20 days available to WAPOL employees. It would also go some way to recognising the importance of supporting our Defence Reserves.

AEAWA Response
While this is a substantial improvement in position from SJA, the AEAWA feel that the 10 days Defence Service Leave we have requested is a fair and reasonable request to bring us closer to other emergency service entitlements, and at only minimal cost to the organisation it should NOT be the subject of so much discussion. Indeed, management were advised the combined discussion spent on this topic by numerous staff and senior management probably exceeds the cost of extending Defence Leave to 10 days.

Deferred Salary Leave
Not discussed – will be added to future agenda

Exam Leave
St John provided a draft document which indicated that they will support SAO’s to access Special Leave over and above the usual maximum available spots for Special Leave (on the condition that the SAO is unable to defer their exam to a rostered day off and unable to secure a shift swap). The AEAWA argued that Special Leave access for SAO’s was NOT our claim! Our claim was in fact for PAID leave on the day of and exam for our SAO’s…an exam which is REQUIRED for their continued employment, and career progression.

AEAWA Response:
Our claim for SAO paid exam leave remains on the table and we will continue to lobby for this inclusion in our agreement.

Next meeting will be 14 July 2021 9.30am

23rd June, 2021 - EBA Meeting 11 Minutes

To view the document for this meeting please click here.

16th June, 2021 - EBA Meeting 10 Minutes


Dear members,
Please brace yourselves for the very unexciting update following today’s EBA negotiation. The 10th meeting so far.

This meeting was cut short today at request of St John and so a number of agenda items were not covered including:
Return to Work policy
Reasonable Overtime / Shift Extensions

This meeting was again frustrating, with lots of meaningless circular discussion which achieved virtually nothing, and practically zero progress on the issues which our members feel are important. It also appeared that throughout the negotiations St John looked to us to solve their problems.

Paramedic Special Operations (PSOJ ‘On Call’ (SJA)
The AEAWA were asked for feedback (again) but as previously communicated it is impossible to provide feedback without concrete detail of the proposal. The PSO team have discussed the SJA proposal during the last week, and quite frankly the more this proposal is examined, the more questions arise as to exactly how this proposal will operate. The model currently appears unsustainable, and without concrete details of how this ‘On Call’ model will operate, we are unable to agree to this proposal. This situation is further complicated by the late and concurrent suggestion that St John plan to introduce a new staffed 4X4 ‘on road’ roster for PSO ‘at some point’, in addition to the proposed (but apparently separate) ‘On-Call’ component. It was highlighted to SJA that it is extremely difficult to understand the nuances and implications of an ‘On Call’ proposal without knowing what the eventual plan is. The possibility of a rostered PSO vehicle will of course have implications for any proposed ‘On Call’ system, and so St John need to put their cards on the table to progress this matter.

Furthermore, it was highlighted to SJA that the ‘On Call’ proposal would constitute a significant change in conditions, whereby PSO’s would be expected to work busy metro shifts, followed by being ‘On Call’ overnight, all for 0.5% of the SAO weekly base rate of pay. There is no consideration of fatigue, social life implications, nor the impact such on call rostering system would have on the ability to undertake secondments or country relief, or plan leave. It is our view, that St John have offered NO incentive for ‘On-Call’, and if St John want 24/7 coverage they need to roster fully paid staff to a 24/7 roster (which most likely will be fully funded externally anyway). Finally, PSO’s are a highly trained and highly deployable resource. As such, St John were  requested to propose a dedicated classification for PSO’s under the agreement, with an appropriate pay scale commensurate with CSP rates.

Uniform (AEAWA)
Discussion took place regarding a proposal from both bargaining groups requesting a change to the uniform which would more clearly delineate career professional ambulance officers and paramedics from EMT/Volunteer and Event Health Officers. The AEAWA recognise that St John believe the current uniform is ‘branding ’ however this branding issue frequently results in the media giving false accounts of ‘paramedics’ attending patients in country locations etc. However, as we are sure you suspected, St John have declined to make changes that would differentiate between career / volunteer. St John argued that the community do not ‘pay attention’ to these things, however, we feel that this is exactly the issue. St John are happy to trade on the consistency of uniform to allow the community to think they receive a certain standard of care, when the reality is the level of clinical care and responsibility is markedly different (despite volunteers doing their best with the training they are provided).

The AEAWA enquired as to why officers are unable to order ‘coveralls’ (onesies). St John denied that they had been ‘removed’ because a certain executive did not like this item of uniform, and stated that this was ‘purely a supply issue’. However, AEAWA delegates responded by informing SJA that they had in fact contacted Yakka/Workwear Online and been informed that the ‘coveralls’ line item had ‘been deleted’. St John blamed the lack of progress with uniforms on the pandemic.

On the subject of manufacturing, the AEAWA believe St John should support local business and attempt to source nationally manufactured uniform products where possible (in addition to PPE and other consumables vulnerable to international supply chain issues), in accordance with St John core value of ‘shaping the community’, and of being ‘sensitive to their environment’.

The AEAWA argued for more appropriate uniform options suitable for pregnancy, and St John agreed that the planned uniform committee will manage this.
St John agreed to consider a climate friendly uniform specifically for North West officers but also a range of more uniform options for officers statewide which are more friendly to the prevailing weather conditions across the state. However, SJA again want to shift these EBA items to a separate committee.

Special Leave clause (AEAWA)
St John sought feedback in relation to their proposed special leave clause. The AEAWA identified that the proposed clause still allows only 6% of the total number of metropolitan employees in established vehicles completing on-road shifts. We reiterated our claim in relation to increasing the availability of special leave positions from the current 6% to a figure of 8% which we believe would offer St John a cost neutral (these offers have generally already accrued these hours) way for St John to facilitate improved work life balance for shift workers, and reduce ‘unplanned absence’.

The AEAWA recognise the approval of our claim to increase maximum special balance from +48 to +96. The AEAWA highlighted that the clause regarding forced payback of negative special leave balances is currently inconsistently applied at best, and leads to officers being surprised and unprepared for the docking of 50% of overtime. This clause either needs clarifying, or changed to provide a notice period for officers. St John agreed to clarify this section of the draft clause.

Special Leave Blackout periods (AEAWA)
The AEAWA questioned the current Special Leave blackout periods which seem quite arbitrary and often include days surrounding public holidays, not just the public holiday themselves. We are unsure if this is necessary or even fair, and requested SJA to provide data staffing over these Special Leave blackout periods.

Job Share (AEAWA)
St John presented their draft Job Share clause for consideration. The AEAWA are still digesting the significant detail provided in this clause and will respond in due course.
Secondments (SJA). The AEAWA responded to St John’s proposal to increase the length of secondments. At this stage we have serious reservations in allowing St John to alter this clause as we have numerous examples where SJA have circumvented the existing clause to extend secondments. However, minimal discussion took place on this agenda item and it will be re-tabled for a future negotiation meeting.

Managers on Road (SJA)
St John have recognised that the level of resistance to changing this clause was extremely high, and have therefore agreed to drop this clause from their claim.

Claims Regarding Career Progression and Recruitment Process
A reminder here that the AEAWA claim requested the current recruitment process be revised to be more fair and transparent. Currently advertised positions are filled through a process claimed to be ‘merit based’ process. The AEAWA committee believe that no matter what ‘scoring’ is achieved by an applicant for their previous qualifications, experience or training, the final decision always seems to be based purely on interview performance / personality alone. Today we argued for a system which also factors in other important variables and these should carry some weight in determining an applicants final ‘score’. We acknowledge that interview performance is an important variable, but we do not feel it should be the sole deciding factor. Many other state ambulance services assign points for various criteria and assessment processes, which carry through to the final interview stage, resulting in an overall score helping to determine the successful candidate. St John resisted change initially but we are determined to see improvements in fairness and transparency in terms of career progression and appointment.

Pre-Shift Checks Claims
SJA commenced discussions stating they have previously circulated a draft SOP regarding Pre-Shift checks, and sought feedback both on the SOP and our claim for paid Pre shift checks. The AEAWA are mindful that the introduction of paid pre-shift checks would potentially involve extending the length of their working day. For many of our members with childcare responsibilities or other family arrangements, this may negatively impact their ability to regularly be at work ‘early’.

Despite the fact that many of our members are already at work prior to the start of their shift, there is currently NO obligation to do this. Following feedback from our members, we have decided to pursue an alternate approach which we hope will see St John provide concrete instructions on what ‘start of shift checks’ (medication, ambulance equipment, vehicle compliance) are required before attending a case, and therefore indemnify officers in the event items of equipment are either missing or faulty, which later prove critical in the course of a case. This will be discussed in coming weeks and we will of course do our best to keep you informed.

The next meeting will be 23 June 2021.

Kind regards

AEAWA Negotiation Team

9th June, 2021 - EBA Meeting 9 Minutes

Dear members,
The 9th scheduled EBA meeting took place yesterday between St John and the bargaining groups. With Ambulance Director Deon Brink on annual leave, this negotiation was initially chaired by Medical Director Paul Bailey before he departed after receiving feedback on the Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC) from both bargaining groups. Aside from CAMC, discussions took place on the organisation’s proposal for Special Operations Paramedics, Special Leave, Job Share Country, Meal Breaks, Defence Service Leave, and Exam Leave for SAO’s, Paramedic Special Operations.

St John discussed a previous Draft roster proposal for PSO on call to improve availability and response time. Today after discussion, St John proposed to have a 4×4 roster staffed by PSO with an associated on call roster. We have agreed to respond to the proposed model at the next meeting.

Job Share Country
A significant amount of discussion took place regarding the finer workings of a job share mechanism in Country WA, in particular would the first 104 weeks ‘out of depot’ following entering into a Job Share arrangement keep your previous full time permanent position, either in metro or country (similar to secondment allowances), and what outcomes may occur should a job share arrangement collapse in Country.

‘Clinical Appropriate Model of Care’ (CAMC)
St John presented a document written with the aim of ‘addressing some concerns and questions’ raised at previous meetings. We are confident you will receive this document soon from St John. We have attached a short document below which responds to some of the main claims in the St John document. Due to Facebook limitation we cannot attach more than one document, but the website will have links to both the St John sales pitch and our response document. After presenting their document, St John requested feedback.

Both bargaining groups unanimously and unequivocally responded that the document does not address any of the concerns raised, and is simply a rehashing of a previous sales pitch. The document and the model itself STILL does not address what most people on road want to see, which is a focus on the unsustainable night shift workload, ramping, inappropriate P2 transfers which get ramped, RFDS transfers, P2 inter hospital transfers, and 3am hospital discharge to nursing home. St. John were informed that there is virtually no appetite among on road staff to divide the workforce onto different conditions and reduce the average wage of Paramedics in WA to make us (on average) amongst the lowest paid jurisdictional ambulance service Paramedics in the country.

Overall, we are sad to say that discussions lasted just minutes on this topic as St John have not sought to address our previous concerns and recommendations.

Special Leave
Some discussion took place following presentation of a revised Special Leave clause by St John. As mentioned last fortnight St John have agreed with AEAWA’s Claims to increase special Leave balance to a maximum of 96 hours. The clause they have drafted requires further scrutiny as it runs over 2 full pages and was only presented mid-meeting. There are a few areas which will require further negotiation, for instance, St John retain the right to pay only 50% of overtime to reduce a Special Leave negative balance (as they are permitted in per current agreement), however we would like to see a fairer mechanism of forced repayment including notice of at least 2 weeks before overtime is taken by St John. There are also details regarding the utilisation and transfer of Special Leave between metro and country. We will update our members once we have digested the detail.

Meal Breaks
St. John seem to be engaging with our claim for paid meal breaks. St John presented modelling data which indicated a claim for meal breaks would require up to ‘8 additional crews’ between 11am and 7pm, and up to ‘6 additional crews between 11pm and 3am’.St John argued that the data showed that to ‘maintain current response time performance’ for each crew on a meal break they would need roster an additional crew to cover them. The AEAWA highlighted that the organisations need to replace every single crew on break is due to the FACT we have ZERO % standby capacity through much of the day, and therefore no buffer to account for a single crew on a break. As anticipated and outlined previously to our members, the ability for an ambulance service to manage a meal break obligation would hopefully have important ‘knock on’ effect of requiring more crews on road. St. John suggested that they may consider offering shorter shifts to officers wishing to work part time contracts, which would assist to cover these peak meal break periods.

Exam Leave SAO
St. John presented revised costing for our proposed Exam Leave for SAO’s of $213,917. Again we argued about the calculation here as variable days off would only be required depending on shift colour and where the exam was scheduled (ie it might be on day 2 or night 3 which would affect the number of days off required). At the last meeting St John indicated that they have been ‘very flexible’ in allowing SAO’s to have time off to undertake exams. Following feedback from members, St John were today informed that this is NOT the case, with officers being told to ‘organise their own special leave’, then finding all special leave spots filled already. Employee relations gave us assurances that arrangements should be made in the interim while negotiations are ongoing. So we encourage all SAO’s who have problems arranging time off to contact us at [email protected].

Defence Service Leave
Revised costings were presented by St John of $36,452 (down from previous estimate of $182,162…hence the importance of scrutiny) for an increase in DSL from 4 shifts to 10. Following feedback from membership, St John were challenged as to whether they have registered for and sought the Employer Support Payment compensation scheme whereby the government financially compensate the employer to allow staff to undertake defence duties. St John seemed unaware of this potential scheme and promised to investigate. We will now be moving to weekly meetings. St. John indicated that these meetings may well run shorter and therefore our future meeting summaries could well be shorter. Please rest assured we will do our utmost best to keep you updated on any important factors while we iron out the detail of any clauses (often the detail is critical, but uninteresting until you need it), but we will share as much as time and resources allow.

We thank our members for their continued support. Please view the CAMC document which the AEAWA have added to for your information.

We urge all officers to review this document, located under the meeting 9 links on the webpage.

AEAWA Negotiation Team

26th May, 2021 - EBA Meeting 8 Minutes

Dear members,

Today we held the 8th scheduled EBA meeting. This meeting covered some important topics, but again there was no further discussion of one of the major proposals by SJA, the Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC). In addition to the topics below, discussion often veered towards the crisis currently facing St John, and as to how any of their proposals will address the main troubles facing the ambulance service…hugely insufficient SOC staffing with thousands of calls going unanswered each day, and insufficient operational staff, no fleet availability, and ramping. While this occurs St John seem determined to take yet more staff off road to manage name badge placement, nail varnish colours and shoulder length hair. Below follows a summary of the topics covered today:

Remove Travel Allowance for Casual Paramedics (SJA)
After the usual pleasantries the meeting began with SJA requesting AEAWA to respond to the proposed travel allowance clause. You may remember this proposed clause seeks to formally remove the travel allowance from Casual Paramedics. Superficially this would appear to be a minor/insignificant claim from SJA, however we suspect that this is part of a bigger scheme to vastly increase the number of Casual Paramedics in the longer term, in conjunction with the Intern/Qualified Paramedic model. SJA have recognised there is a significant and growing number of graduate Paramedics, and we believe they want to meet increasing demand by employing lower paid casual staff, whom will not be eligible for annual leave/sick leave/superannuation/long service leave.

These Paramedics will have no job security, and will be used to match demand more cost effectively than overtime. HOWEVER, the AEAWA want an ambulance service that is properly resourced with permanent staff, to ensure a standby capacity as recommended by the 2009 Joyce Report (52.5%), not one that staffs it’s fleet ‘just enough’ to get through the day. We don’t need to tell our members that the service is more than busy enough to warrant many more permanent paramedics, as we see every day in the form of
thousands of calls ‘re-queued’ to SOC, the delayed responses our patients receive, and shift extensions.

Special Operations Paramedics – On Call Case Study (SJA)
SJA provided further detail regarding the proposed ‘on call’ roster for Paramedic Special Ops (PSO’s), however there still remains far too much ambiguity in the outlined plan to allow scrutiny of the detail. SJA were advised that while we remain supportive of the concept of a reliable capability to respond to incidents requiring PSO’s, we need more detail, and perhaps they should consider a phased introduction of their ‘on call’ system that is tied to the promised increase in PSO numbers, to ensure this actually happens.

Special Operations Paramedics – Clarify Remuneration Claim (AEAWA)
The AEAWA want to retain PSO allowances but held off on further commitment regarding numeration pending further detail on the proposed PSO ‘on call’ system.
Discuss claim costings (SJA) SJA provided further detail of their estimated costings (‘claims costing bank’) of the combined log of claims made by the representatives bargaining groups, and their equivalence (or impact) on any pay increase. For reference, their estimated costs are listed in the attached document. A number of these calculations were challenged, such as those provided for the SAO Exam Leave claim. Here, SJA had budgeted 4 shifts leave for each and every SAO for every single exam, thereby forecasting
an unrealistic ‘worst case scenario’. Clearly a student ambulance officer may have an exam on day 1 of their set, day 2, night 1 or night 2, and exams will not be on weekends, therefore they will generally only require only 1 or 2 days leave at most. We believe the costing/liability for St. John should at most be 50% of their
stated projection.

Further, it was highlighted that SJA’s inclusion of Defence Service Leave on the ‘claim costings bank’ was insulting to those officers who volunteer in defence of our country, and should be removed from the ‘costing bank’ and regarded as a negligible cost. The AEAWA also challenged the assumption that an increase of 4 shifts DSL to 10 shifts would not result in a ‘3 fold increase in uptake’. We absolutely refute that people would sign up as a defence reservist simply to take advantage of what would still be a very conservative
leave allocation of 10 days, given the commitment required and risks associated with serving our country overseas in the defence service.

Finally, SJA failed to outline, as requested, the ‘savings bank’ of their proposed ‘Clinical Appropriate Model of Care’. The total ‘claims costing bank’ (according to St John) equates to a +9.43% pay increase. However, we believe the CAMC model would produce savings which would vastly dwarf these ‘costs’.

Mental Health Leave
SJA response: NO
SJA have declined this on a cost basis stating that there was no other business unit that receives mental health leave, they believe 100% of staff would access this non cumulative leave, and the cost of supporting the mental health of front line first responders too high. SJA do not see why operational employees can not ‘just access their personal leave’.
SJA believe Managers Discretionary Leave (MDL) is frequently used to provide employees with time off after critical incidents. SJA refused to compare the 2 days ‘Leisure leave’ available to Administration and Support Services employees within St. John to our claim, stating that the 2 Leisure days were offered to Admin staff in compensation for 2 former public holidays previously available to staff (we’re investigating this).

The AEAWA argued that two independent enquiries into St. John (Pheonix Report and Chief Psychiatrist Report) in relation to the management of staff and the exposure to trauma and mental health impacts on first responders highlighted leave inflexibility as one of the major failures, preventing staff from managing their own mental health and level of burn out, and being able to act when they recognise a build of of stress. We strongly feel that the work undertaken by first responders cannot be compared to other ‘business units’, and this comparison should not determine leave entitlements.

Further, the AEAWA argued that MDL requires a disclosure of an individual’s mental health concerns to a manager not trained to handle such information, and raises confidentiality issues. Further, should an officer be suffering stress and anxiety, disclosing that information and having an awkward conversation with an Area Manager is likely to be the last thing they want to do.

Pandemic Leave
SJA Response: NO
You will remember the AEAWA proposed a pandemic clause which mirrors the provisions of the WA Government for public sector employees, but only claims 8 shifts of paid leave (which would cover most isolation events) St John declined outright this AEAWA claim, despite a greater level (20 days) of leave being offered to all WA public sector employees. St . John believe the costs of such a claim ‘could be huge’ should community transmission occur. The AEAWA argued that we have had members with minor ailments and allergies who have been sent home by management, which would not have prevented them working in previous years, and members who have been determined they must isolate by SJA due to travel, in contradiction to official advice, who have had their leave balances been decimated as a direct result. The AEAWA remain open to developing a clause suitable to both parties, but at this stage SJA are not willing to entertain any cover for pandemic related leave.

SJA to respond to – Increase to Special leave Accrual Claims
SJA Response: Agreed (!)
The AEAWA successfully argued that it makes business sense to allow greater flexibility in special leave as this will mean SJA would be able to reduce unplanned absence and plan appropriate coverage for Special Leave absence. St. John have agreed to allow officers to accrue special leave up to positive 96 hours. The ability to go negative 48 hours will remain, however, St John intend to limit the amount of special leave which can be booked off in any one instance to 96 hours.

SJA to respond to – Portability across Country and Metro Claims
St. John have agreed to provide a draft revised clause which would improve special leave portability between metro and country.

SJA to respond to – Special Leave Percentage Increase Claims
SJA Response: NO
The AEAWA sought to increase the number of special leave spots available from 6% to 8% SJA feels that, being a percentage figure the number of spots grows in conjunction with the established vehicles. However, as was highlighted that the number of ‘establishment vehicles’ haven’t grown in recent years, despite increases in staff number, as establishment does not include demand support vehicles, short shift etc. St. John declined on the basis that most special leave spots are generally always full on weekends. It was
countered that most ‘unplanned leave’ (book-offs) also occur on weekends and so therefore the lack of special leave spots could well be correlated to unplanned leave. Perhaps by increasing special leave spots available, there would be a reduction in unplanned leave and book offs on weekends. The AEAWA contend that increasing special leave spots may well see a reduction in unplanned leave, and enable SJA to adequately plan and fill those vacancies in advance, rather than trying to cover weekend shifts with ICBs.

SAO Exam Leave Claims
SJA Response: NO
SJA feel that the organisation already sufficiently makes arrangements to enable SAO’s to attend exams and not be unfairly disadvantaged. We disagree. The AEAWA feel that this is not the case and outlined that we have represented several officers recently who have had to sit exams after a night shift, and that the organisation should feel obligated to better facilitate fair and equitable time off for these students, given that passing these exams are a pre-requisite to progression and employment within SJA. If SJA does have
mechanisms, they are not well known and not fairly applied, therefore we would like guarantees embedded in the EBA.

SJA Update regarding Job Share
St. John confirmed that the list is being updated and will be communicated to all staff via email in the coming weeks.

Job Share in Country
St John have committed to developing a process and system to allow job share in country, we await further details before we can comment.

Meal Breaks
SJA have responded to the AEAWA Meal Break claim by indicating a willingness to work through how a system involving meal breaks *might* work. Whilst this was encouraging (and somewhat surprising given the raft of ‘NO’ responses so far from SJA), we should be aware that this stated willingness to consider meal breaks SJA was given in the same sentence as ‘seeing a number of difficulties and potential barriers’. As mentioned before, the AEAWA see the ability to enjoy an meal break as a hallmark of a modern, progressive ambulance service (we are the only ambulance service without meal breaks), but more importantly we feel that a service needs to be adequately resourced in order to schedule meal breaks while maintaining capacity. We feel that meal breaks are therefore required to force St John to resource the service sufficiently. Details will be discussed in future meetings including what happens if a meal break is missed, and whether this becomes a financial penalty etc. We will be working with our interstate independent union colleagues to gain their experiences on the meal break issues.

Commencement of Shift Equipment check
SJA state that they are open to working through how this *might* work, but are still considering the proposals of the AEAWA. Further discussion will take place at future meetings.

Shift Extensions
SJA Response: still working through the claims, though they also stressed the ‘nature of the ambulance business’ meaning shift extensions are somewhat inevitable. SJA argue that if shift extensions were to be removed completely ‘they wouldn’t be able to give anyone a job in the last 1.5 hours of their shift’. The AEAWA completely acknowledge the unpredictable nature of ambulance work, but there are a number of mechanisms we believe could be in place that would balance an employee’s right to (occasionally) finish
on time and spend time with loved ones, while still maintaining an emergency response. In a well resourced service these two objectives should not be mutually exclusive.

The next meeting is scheduled for 9th June 2021. St. John indicated we will likely go to weekly meetings after the 9th June.

The committee would like to again advise our members that this negotiation promises to be one of the toughest in memory, and despite apparent progress on some issues today, there remain a number of conditions very much under threat (CAMC and the average industry wage in WA, ad-hoc movement across shift colours, permanency etc). Once removed, these conditions will generally never return and so we must stand together to protect what has been hard fought and won by our colleagues in previous years.
We thank our members for their continued support.

12th May, 2021 - EBA Meeting 7 Minutes

Dear members,

Today we held the 7th scheduled EBA meeting. Content and discussion was fairly limited today, being much less wide ranging than previous meetings. It would be fair to say that overall this was quite a frustrating meeting, with no significant movement on behalf of St John, or your negotiation Team.

Below follows a summary of the topics covered today:

Spare Officers to receive Allowance/Extra Payment (AEAWA)
The AEAWA proposed a figure of $20 per shift for officers who are rostered spare. We feel that this is a very reasonable figure for the inconvenience of being made a spare officer, and will hopefully go some way to deter SJA from arbitrarily making officers spare, especially when vacancies exist on the roster. St John will ‘cost’ this proposal, and report back.

St. John have agreed to update and maintain a ‘Job Share List’ (you may not have even seen this list) which currently sits under Rosters on the intranet and lists employees who are looking for job share partners. This list will now be updated and established under People and Culture section of Connect. And email will go out to everyone including Country ambulance officers, outlining the process. This concession does not satisfy the reform of the Job Share clause we have claimed, and which we will continue to pursue.

Travel Allowance (St John)
St. John propose to remove the travel allowances for casual staff. We anticipate that this ‘minor change’, along with other wording changes to the ‘casual clause’, are being suggested in preparation for an expansion of the casual paramedic workforce, with St John seeking to utilise the growing number of Paramedicine graduates who are seeking employment. The AEAWA are opposed to the expansion of casual workers within the paramedic profession as it reduces the job security and income security in our industry, and fragments our bargaining power. We are committed to the expansion of a PERMANENT workforce, rather than enabling mechanisms for St John to match ‘supply and demand’ with the bare minimum of staff. The AEAWA have taken proposal ‘on notice’ until a future date.

Special Operations On-Call Proposal (St John)
Discussion centred on the SJA proposed ‘on call’ roster for Special Operations Paramedics (PSO). Despite SJA having provided a draft roster for consultation, we remain unsure how exactly St John anticipate this system working. Further, when questioned it appeared that St John have not thought that far ahead. PSOs are not currently a permanent salaried position under the agreement (nor are they a secondment) and so St John need to give consideration as to whether being rostered ‘on-call’ would, for example, preclude opportunity to go on country relief, preclude membership of other specialist groups or secondments (CSP, CCP, AM pool). On-call seems to have ramifications which St John has not yet considered. St. John have committed to develop a case study to demonstrate how they see this on call roster working, and examine the development of a rostered position.

Special Operations Training at Normal Rate (St John)
St. John propose to pay training at normal (single time) for Paramedic Special Operations (PSO’s). This was declined by both negotiation teams. There is absolutely NO appetite to introduce any overtime clause which would be paid at single time, ANYWHERE in the agreement. If St. John wish to train PSO’s an ‘normal rate’ they can roster training during ‘normal’ shifts.

USAR Allowance – Amendments (St John)
St John propose to alter the name under the allowances from ‘USAR allowance’ to Paramedic Special Operations (PSO) allowance. This was agreed, as USAR is now outdated terminology.

Pay Parity with CCP & CSP (AEAWA)
The AEAWA argue that PSO’s complete significant and ongoing training. The group have developed into a highly skilled, highly deployable asset, with inter-agency tasking requiring a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. PSOs are expected to be able to respond and travel nationally and internationally at very short notice. The role is expanding and developing, with deployments becoming more frequent, and the AEAWA feel that PSO’s deserve to be a specific defined rank within the organisation, earning a separate pay schedule commensurate with their skills and training. We continue to try and understand how St John envisage developing the role into something that can offer a guaranteed response, and working towards a solution that provides a 24 hour capability while protecting our PSO members.

On-Road Tutor/Mentoring Allowance (AEAWA)
The AEAWA further outlined the calculation for our proposed On-Road Tutoring/Mentoring allowance. Currently ‘On Road Tutors’ receive $18.07 per shift when rostered with a student. We feel that On Road tutoring deserves at least as much monetary recognition as a college secondments. To arrive at our proposed revised figure for On Road Tutor, the AEAWA took the average increase in salary from banding AP1, AP2, and AP3, to that of CPHC secondment, and averaged these figures. We then calculated the value of this average pay increase that would equate to for each On Road Tutor shift. St. John again disputed our reasoning that On Road Tutoring is equivalent to CPHC secondment. We again argued that On Road Tutor is more demanding and more challenging than that of CPHC trainer. On Road Tutor’s will work with a student for 11-13 hours, continuously monitoring, training, mentoring and assessing. Whereas a CPHC secondment will actively train for perhaps 50% of the time, and this is done in a static, safe environment. On road tutors assume more clinical risk and they generally would incur more stress. St John again tried to infer that AHPRA mentoring requirements place a responsibility on registered practitioners to ‘mentor’. We countered that by stating that the current allowance in our certified agreement is for that of an ‘On Road Tutor’ and NOT a mentor. Our members performing this role are ‘Tutoring’, complete with written formal assessments which are submitted to the CPHC, not simply ‘mentoring’.

Introduction of Change (AEAWA)
In recent years your Executive committee have become increasingly frustrated with the introduction of changes to working conditions and practice through the unilateral development (on behalf of St John), of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Many of these SOPs have significant impact on established practice and conditions, which are not protected under industrial agreements. For instance, St John reworded the ‘Patient Flow and Ramping Guideline’ to legitimise the practice of multi patient care and single officer ramping duties, which we feel is a significant change in work conditions and job description. Often these ‘Policy’s’ are developed by St John without input, and not commonly available to staff until they are rolled out to penalise an employee (for instance the Workers Compensation Policy which precludes an employee who suffers any injury, however minor, from applying for any secondment or relief position for a period of 3 months). Our draft clause proposes to enforce through the certified agreement a genuine consultation and approval process with the employment groups. We also seek the inclusion of current SOPs as indices to the Certified agreement, making them less susceptible to arbitrary change.

Dispute Settling Procedure (AEAWA)
The AEAWA seek a streamlining to the dispute resolution process. St. John have rejected our proposal stating that each step in the process allows each level of management to review a decision. We will continue to pursue this clause.

Additional Mental Health / Leisure Days (AEAWA/UWU)
The AEAWA propose that on road officers should be provided with the same two ‘Leisure Days’ as is provided to St John administrative staff who are covered under the Administration and Support Services Certified Agreement within St John. Our members work in an environment which routinely exposes them to trauma and stress, they miss family events and social engagements, and work fatiguing shift patterns. From our perspective it is hard to see how St John can argue we should not receive the same entitlement.

Costings (St John)
St. John presented a number of ‘costings’ for claims submitted so far. This included figures such as $1,531,013 per annum to fund an additional 2 days leave Mental Health Leave (as above). This would allegedly equate to a 1.27% pay rise, but on the surface it seems an abnormally large figure. We challenged St John as to the calculations and assumptions made in arriving at this figure (for instance, does this include back-filling these absences with OT) but the Acting Finance Director was (?inconveniently) absent and therefore St John we’re unable to elaborate. They will provide additional details at the next meeting. This is a typical strategy of St John to reduce and erode the AEAWA claim for annual pay increase, inflating the figures on a ‘worst case scenario’ basis to orchestrate a smaller pay raise.

Defence Service Leave (AEAWA)
The AEAWA seek to allow 10 days paid Defence Service Leave, for members who are Defence Force Reserves or Australian Defence Force Cadets. By comparison, WAPOL provide 112 PAID hours + 16 top up pay days, DFES provide 20 PAID days, Victoria Ambulance provide 20 days PAID leave. Registered Nurses are provided 76 hours PAID.
St John however currently offer 4 paid shifts leave (just 48 hours). St John assert the costings for this claim equate to $182,262 per annum, and suggest it would reduce any pay rise by 0.15% We implore St John to be a leader in recognising, supporting and VALUING members who volunteer their time and risk their lives in service of our country, rather than quibbling over relatively small amounts of money.

Ambulance Officer Exam Leave (AEAWA/UWU)
This was an agenda item but did not end up being discussed at today’s meeting, we will ensure it is re-entered onto the agenda for next fortnight.

Health and Wellbeing Allowance (AEAWA/UWU)
This was an agenda item but did not end up being discussed at today’s meeting, we will ensure it is re-entered onto the agenda for next fortnight.

The next meeting is scheduled for 26 May 2021. As mentioned previously this EBA promises to be a long (and likely a painful) process.

Please continue to discuss the EBA with your colleagues on road and let us know you thoughts on the issues which are important to you. The current offer from St John leaves your negotiators with absolutely NO desire to agree to any of these enormous changes, which we believe would cause unprecedented damage to our employment conditions, and the industry as a whole.

The negotiation team would like to thank our membership for their continued support, and for their avoidance of the ‘Yammer’ Enterprise Agreement 2021 sub forum. We appreciate you will still have many questions about the offer and claims, so please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we will raise them at future meetings.

AEAWA Negotiation Team

28th April, 2021 - EBA Meeting 6 Minutes

Your negotiation team met today with senior management for the 6th scheduled EBA meeting. Please forgive the lengthy post below, there was a lot of discussion at today’s meeting, though sadly it was mostly unproductive.

This meeting again contained NO significant discussion of the Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC), the proposed restructure of our workforce which your negotiation team remain fundamentally opposed. As a reminder, your committee see this ‘CAMC’ as serving to devalue the paramedic profession, lower industry wages and create division and resentment among our members. We also feel it is not our place nor our right to ‘sell’ the conditions of future paramedics, whilst we continue to enjoy ‘grandfathered’ conditions. Should the CAMC be allowed to progress, St John will have NO incentive to retain the role of ‘Ambulance Paramedic’ when they can simply grow the proportion of ‘Qualified Paramedics’ who will perform the same work, on the same shifts, with the same qualification, for $30,000 less per annum roughly

Below is a summary of the topics covered today:

Casual Paramedics
The AEAWA provided a response to an agenda item listed as ‘undertaking’ clause, which you will remember from last fortnight was a thinly veiled attempt to introduce more casual staff into our workforce by changing wording within the ‘Casual’ clause of the EBA to allow anyone with the designation ‘Paramedic’ to become casual, regardless of whether they are a current employee or ‘AP1’.

The AEAWA rejected the proposed wording changes that would have allowed this. Having a large proportion of workers who are casual solely benefits St John. They cease to be liable for annual leave and sick leave payments, and can adjust their workforce to meet ‘supply and demand’. Casual employees reduce the bargaining power of our workforce, and it is an unfair arrangement for those Paramedics who simply want stable, permanent employment, a necessity to obtain a
mortgage or rental application.

Job Share – Discussion
Further discussion occurred with St John about enabling access to job share in country location. Despite reaching agreement last fortnight to re-write the Job Share clause, St. John sought further clarification about exactly what the bargaining teams want in relation to amending this clause. Again the AEAWA explained that there is no set mechanism for country officers to enter job share arrangements, and that the rare ad-hoc arrangements which have been successfully established were themselves extremely difficult to establish. There is a general lack of transparency and equity in the current clause, and the AEAWA seek a completely reworded document, which we hope will benefit both Metro and Country officers who wish to enter into Job Share arrangements.

CEP – Plan for this year
St John confirmed that this years CEP will be two days of ‘face to face’ classroom based training (pending any COVID restrictions which might develop). St. John reject the claim for any additional CEP days. St John state that extra time may be provided for training as and when required (eg for Stryker training).

Rosters Discussion
Emergency Roster (St John claim)
St. John wish to introduce a clause that would allow the organisation to change a roster in response to a perceived emergency (not necessarily a declared emergency under law) which they believe may impact on their ability to deliver an ambulance service, the examples they used repeatedly were ‘heat wave’ and ‘storm’. Despite the fact St. John currently struggle to deliver an ambulance service even in the absence of an emergency event, the AEAWA believe that, in the event of an actual emergency within our community or internationally, St John would be inundated with offers of assistance from the workforce who would be more than willing to fly statewide, interstate, or internationally and happily work alternate shift patterns to help out. We feel there is no need to introduce a clause to empower St John to do this, and if it were worded incorrectly it would be open to abuse by St John, e.g a ‘ramping emergency’ requiring officers to be forced to work on days off, or change shifts.

Crews to be allocated time to check vehicle and medication prior to being made operational (AEAWA claim)
The AEAWA highlighted that there is an ever-growing list of items to check on the Daily Equipment & Medication Check, including 27 medications, a safe S8 check, approximately 25 equipment and device checks, Corpuls checks, and duress alarm checks. Some discussion took place regarding outdated notions of ‘embarrassment checks’, and it was put to St John that many items of equipment can cause acute embarrassment and potential patient harm if they are not present or not working (for instance a missing size 2 iGel or inoperative suction could be extremely ‘embarrassing’).

St. John have operated on the goodwill of their workforce for many many years, on officers who routinely arrive 20-30 minutes before each shift to ensure their vehicle is operational and correctly stocked. This time is unpaid, and St John benefit by having their crews able to deliver a high standard of care and being able to respond within minutes of the start of their shift. The negotiation team explained that the goodwill which has enabled this to occur has diminished in recent years, and that modern ambulances, with over 300 separate stocked items, deserve allocated, paid time to be checked.

Allocated, Paid Meal break during shift (AEAWA)
The AEAWA highlighted that WA is one of the last states in Australia NOT to provide its staff with paid breaks and allocated rest breaks. To illustrate:

The Ambulance and Patient Transport Award, which provides a National framework/guide for standard ambulance conditions provides for meal breaks. The New South Wales State Ambulance Award provides for two paid 30-minute crib breaks. where officers are working a roster of 12 hour or more. The Ambulance Victoria Certified Agreement provides for 2 x 30 minutes PAID meal breaks for shifts of more than 10 and up to 14 hours. Ambulance Victoria also provide two ten-minute rest breaks each day, counted as time worked (ie paid). The South Australian Ambulance service are entitled to 20 minutes paid breaks. Queensland Ambulance are entitled to two unpaid meal breaks of not less than 30 minutes for shifts in excess of 10 hours in duration. Ambulance Tasmania are entitled to 2 x 10-minute paid breaks. Northern Territory receive 1 x 30 minute meal break

The negotiation team believe St John WA, a company which describes itself as a ‘leader in ambulance’, take steps at this EBA to catch up with the other jurisdictional ambulance services in all other states and territories, and provide paid meal breaks. A by-product of this claim for paid meal breaks, arguably as important, is that for an ambulance service to have sufficient ambulance resources to schedule crews onto meal breaks, they will ALSO need to maintain a minimum number of crews and have sufficient standby capacity to make this happen. It is intended that a missed or broken meal break would attract a financial penalty.

Remove Default Roster Assignment (2,2,4) (St John claim)
St. John wish to remove the default assignment to the 224 shift pattern. St. John wish to have no assignment to a particular shift pattern or colour. St. John wish to put more people onto day shift, straight from Induction or Direct Entry onto day ambulance, to align with demand 1000-2200, which in turn will mean less crews on night shift. St. John presented some ‘reasoning’ behind this claim. They allege that such a change is necessary due to ‘increasing demand’ for service. St. John repeatedly state they ‘want to match
supple and demand’. St. John showed Business Intelligence department data which shows where spikes and troughs occur throughout the day.

The AEAWA acknowledged that peaks and troughs indeed occur throughout the day. We also acknowledge that there are often ‘spikes’ in demand. St. John were however reminded that we are an emergency service, not just a business. And with an emergency service, supply should exceed demand. Maintaining a sufficient standby capacity will negate the problems with ‘spikes’
in demand. The Acting Finance Director stated that the Health Department no longer support a 50% standby capacity, they are looking at perhaps 36% standby capacity adjusted to account for 40% for ramping. The AEAWA will be writing to WA Health to confirm this position regarding standby capacity.

The AEAWA reject this proposal outright, seeing this as an attack on certainty of shift pattern and results in a purely advantageous arrangement for St John, and a further erosion on the 224 shift pattern. As with other St John claims below, which seek increase ‘flexibility, agility and responsiveness’ we feel the solution to current pressures is to extract yet more work from a workforce already at maximum productivity, by eroding conditions hard fought and won.

Include ability to move permanent shift for all classifications (St John claim)
St. John propose to have the ability to move people across shift patterns and colours without prior agreement from Officer. They claim this will be required to support the ‘Clinical Appropriate Model of Care’ mix between ‘Qualified Paramedics’ ‘Intern Paramedics’ and ‘Ambulance Paramedics’, and also ‘balance’ staffing numbers. St. John allege they often have trouble filling demand vehicles (4X4) with officers on a voluntary basis, and so would also like the ability to force people onto different shift patterns and colour.

The AEAWA expressed disbelief that their would be any difficulty in filling day ambulances, and certainly, if they made these ‘demand ambulances’ permanent positions St John would be knocked down in the rush to fill these vehicles.

The AEAWA clearly and unequivocally reject this proposed ability to move people across shift colours and patterns. The ability to know what shift you will be working in 6, 9 or 27 months is essential for planning and work / life balance. The AEAWA suggested that St John consider offering an incentive for staff to move shifts temporarily or permanently rather than encouraging via certified agreement the arbitrary movement of officers, which would create a workplace where NO certainly of working days would exist beyond next 8 weeks, no ability to plan for birthdays, school events or holidays with any certainty.

Overtime crews to be released at first opportunity (AEAWA)
This proposal is similar to the Reasonable Overtime clause the AEAWA seek to introduce. Ramped crews who have finished their shift have FINISHED their shift. They are entitled to go home should they want to, and so St John need to organise for them to be relieved at the first available opportunity. We feel this is fairly straightforward and not an unreasonable expectation.

Expansion of 224 Crews (AEAWA)
The AEAWA propose to establish a ratio of 1 x 224 to 1.5 x 4X4. This proposal will support and strengthen the core 224 roster, hopefully making 224 sustainable. Night shift coverage has been eroded year after year as St John seek to ‘maximise KPIs’ by putting on more and more day vehicles on, while neglecting nights.

It is worth noting that DFES do not complain about the 224 roster because they are adequately resourced. DFES recognise that emergencies can occur 24/7, and so they maintain cover at mostly equal levels day and night. St John will of course fight this proposal, but we remain in discussions.

Spare Officers to receive Allowance/Extra Payment (AEAWA)
The AEAWA propose the introduction of an allowance for each shift worked by an officer who is rostered spare. This is intended to compensate them for the inconvenience of working in different locations each shift, with different partners, and at short notice. It also serves as a ‘disincentive’ to the organisation to make officers spare when vacancies exist on the roster.

Spare Officers to be rostered to home station (AEAWA)
The AEAWA wish to see spare officers rostered to the Home Depot (the depot closest to their home address). The AEAWA frequently receive complaints from members who are driving past several depots to their ‘rostered spare’ depot, only to be sent back to a depot they drove past earlier. This proposal would see an officer rostered spare to their Home Depot, where they can then be tasked to an alternate place of work if necessary.

Allocated Positions Discussion
No new Allocated Positions (St John)
St John propose NOT to create any new allocated positions as they bring new vehicles online. They propose that currently the existing allocated positions will remain unaffected. ‘Flexibility and agility’ is the claimed motivation, and St. John want complete rostering flexibility to ‘meet the needs of the community’ by matching demand to supply.

St. John claim that creating any future AP/AP positions on a new vehicle (eg CEN24) would be problematic ‘when the CAMC model rolls out.’. St. John want to reassure current employees that currently designated allocated positions would still be filled when vacancies arise. But any new positions created would NEVER be filled permanently.

The AEAWA again reject this attack on conditions. The committee frequently hear that one of the most stressful components of our workplace is rostering, and that roster change period causes significant angst and frustration. Having a permanent depot with a permanent partner provides stability, consistency, and support, and we will not support changes which would reduce the number of members who can enjoy this condition. We also feel permanency helps bolster morale, reducing patient led complaints and staff book-offs.

27/47 Clause (St John and AEAWA)
St John seek to remove the clause whereby they are required to consider making the 27 and 47 vehicles permanent, where they have been in place for 12 months. The AEAWA reject this, highlighting the fact that St. John ALREADY fail to comply with the existing clause, and that there have been many 27 and 47 vehicles which have consistently been rostered for several years, which still have not been made permanent. The AEAWA will not entertain the weakening of this already weak clause, and in fact seek to strengthen and enforce it. The AEAWA counter the St John claim by insisting St John comply with the existing obligations under the clause.

Compliance with Station Manager Clause (AEAWA)
The AEAWA argue it has been over 6 years since St John last recruited any SM’s. St. John formally commit to recruiting and filling the vacant SM positions to provide career opportunities for staff.

Rostered Away from Allocated Position, Shift or Colour (St John)
St. John wish to change the current clause which allows them to roster officers away from their permanent depot for 16 weeks, to allowing them to be rostered away from BOTH permanent depot AND permanent SHIFT for 16 weeks! It was argued by your committee that those officers on Blue shift with a planned Christmas off, may suddenly find themselves moved to Green shift for the Christmas roster. Again, this was rejected.

Remove Requirement to fill or create new Allocated Positions (St John)
St. John, as in several other clauses above, seek to remove the requirement for permanency. Again, this was a clearly and unequivocally rejected by both bargaining groups.

Consultative Committee (AEAWA)
The AEAWA seek to introduce an external arbiter from the Fair Work Commission to participate in the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). The reason behind this is that the JCC meetings have many, many items on each agenda which are raised repeatedly but which are never resolved by St John. At a previous Fair Work Commission attendance, the offer was made for a commissioner to attend and ‘adjudicate’ to ensure consultation truly occurred and that promised outcomes are completed. St. John of course rejected this claim, but will take it on notice and consider the implications.

Introduction of Change (AEAWA)
The AEAWA committee provided a draft clause for consideration which we hope will restrict the ability of St John to introduce new Policy, new SOPs, and changes to Policy without consultation.

Dispute Settling Procedure (AEAWA)
The AEAWA seek to expedite the process of dispute resolution, which is currently long winded, time consuming and encourages unnecessary delay. St. John agree the process is long winded and will examine ways to streamline.

Night Shift Payment (AEAWA)
The AEAWA seek to introduce a night shift payment where the shift falls on either a Friday night ($100) or Saturday night of ($200). To encourage completion of the full set of 4 shifts, the payments would only occur where people complete the whole set.

The next meeting is on the 12th May 2021. Please be aware that the all parties have only just finished outlining their respective claims (we still need to explore Special Ops claims), so this negotiation is very likely to be a very drawn out process, especially as it includes ‘unprecedented’ proposed restructuring of our workforce, and significant attacks on our conditions. It is not unusual for negotiations to go on for several years (NT ambulance has been in negotiations since 2018), and so it is important for all of us to remain focussed on the long term, and to not be coerced into agreeing to changes that would cause irrevocable damage to conditions.

Once conditions are lost they rarely, if ever return. Please talk with your colleagues and ensure they know the stakes at the table, and how damaging these proposals in the CAMC would be to our profession. If they are not with either Association or Union, please encourage them to sign up with someone.

AEAWA Negotiation Team

14th April, 2021 - EBA Meeting 5 Minutes

Your negotiation team met today with senior management for the 5th scheduled EBA meeting.

This meeting continued the process whereby each party outlines their respective claims and draft clauses, pending more detailed discussions later. With apologies given from Paul Bailey there was no discussion regarding the Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC). St. John proposed to break off a subcommittee to discuss the CACM but this was firmly rejected by the bargaining groups, who both agreed that any discussion regarding this proposed new model be conducted openly around the bargaining table, so that our membership can be regularly updated as discussions progress. Much of today was spent outlining and justifying claims relating to management secondments, pool transparency, job share mechanism for country locations, establishment vehicles, and reasonable overtime.

General Updates:

Single Officer Duties
An update was offered by Ambulance Director Deon Brink in response to the clause proposed last fortnight by the AEAWA seeking to limit the duties that can be performed by a single officer. It was agreed by management that some recent duties tasked to single officers have been unsafe and unacceptable, and that officers can REFUSE to perform duties which contravene those outlined in the Patient Flow and Ramping Policy, such as being dispatched as a single officer to perform ramping duties at 2am, or attending a call on your own.

Health & Wellbeing Policy
SJA have agreed to review the Health & Wellbeing Policy in terms of monetary allowance and to consider expanding the services for which it can be used.

New Items:

Secondments appointment period & Pools
SJA propose to increase secondment periods ‘up to 4 years’ with possible extension of up to a maximum of 5 years. It must be noted here that St. John have consistently evaded the existing maximum periods within the current clause (secondment periods of 2 years with possible extension up 3 years) by moving employees on one secondment *temporarily* to another secondment, and then back to their original secondment, thereby ‘starting the clock’ again. Indeed, we have challenged this at the Fair Work Commission, and so while the overall secondment terms remain open for discussion, the AEAWA will not agree to a clause that fails to address the ability for this SJA evasion of the secondment period limits, whatever they are determined to be.

In relation to ‘pools’, the AEAWA recognise and appreciate that ‘acting’ positions created through a ‘pool system’ allow officers to try out various roles within the business. However the pool system also enables St John to avoid the commitment of appointing people permanently to a position. Pools are rapidly becoming the ‘normal’ way for St John to manage the business, much like the growth in casual employees elsewhere, these pools are essentially creating ‘casual area manager’ positions. Through the pool system, St John can delay or avoid placing people into permanent positions, and therefore avoid the associated burdens and responsibilities that come with having staff in permanent roles. This is similar to how SJA prefer to operate ‘spare officers’ in metro, despite multiple vacancies existing on a vehicle for an entire roster. The AEAWA feel this also resembles the growing casual employee movement within Patient Transport, with the biggest ‘winner’ of these arrangements generally being St John. It is worth remembering that no permanent Area Manager positions have been filled for well over 5 years (this reluctance precedes the South West Pilot) and there remains little incentive for them to do so.

In summary, St. John are the main beneficiaries of larger and larger pools, having access to staff at their convenience, with no obligation to progress those officers or develop their skills, no obligation to employ those officers permanently once they have served their usefulness, and no restriction on periods of time which officers can remain in pools.

Worse still, membership of some pools seem to be open ended, while others supposedly have time limits which are very inconsistently enforced, and ‘expressions of interest’ for entry to a pool is sporadic and very infrequent. The AEAWA understand the potential benefits of a small pool system, but feel that the current application of the system needs significant work to be fair, transparent and to offer more equitable benefits to the employee and not just the employer. Current pool arrangements offer no certainty for those officers who want to advance their career. Current pools do not offer progression.

The AEAWA want consistency around pool operation, set periods, all pool positions to be advertised, set structure, and set processes, opting in and out of pools. Current pool arrangements leave officers unprotected by the certified agreement.

Job share in Country
The AEAWA do not understand the difficulty in allowing job share in country positions. The very few job share arrangements that have been approved were agonisingly difficult to establish and with a service our size it should they should be relatively straightforward. The AEAWA feel that the job share clause within the EBA needs to completely revised and reworded for both metro and country to enable simplicity of application and clarity of operation. SJA agreed to create an agenda item for the next meeting to reformulate a job share clause which will hopefully make entering into job share agreements much simpler and more achievable.

Working with volunteers
The AEAWA seek adequate recognition and increased allowances for operational staff working as a mentor in both metro locations and when working with volunteers in country locations, which is very similar to formal mentoring. SJA have queried the dollar figure placed on this claim, and question the equivalency to CPHC training salary increments,. SJA do not feel that working with volunteers or mentoring metro SAO’s is necessarily the same as the duties undertaken by CPHC trainers. The AEAWA highlight that in many ways the mentoring process, either in country or volunteer, is ‘at the sharp end’ of practice when compared to the static, controlled environment of the CPHC training rooms, and should attract a similar or greater monetary reward to recognise the greater clinical stress, risk and accountability associated with operational ‘real-life’ training on

Country relief employee expense allowance
St John propose to change the ‘weekly rate’ of employee expense relief allowances to a ‘daily rate’. The AEAWA countered this proposal, highlighting the current system works well and that the proposed wording would simply enable St John to act as ‘tax police’ and potentially allow them to report staff who might be claiming living away from home expenses when staying back in Perth during days off. The AEAWA argued that it is up to the employee how they spend their days off, and it is the employee on relief who completes a Statutory Declaration advising that they are maintaining a home whilst working away, and that no tax liability should fall upon St John with the current wording and system. In addition to country relief, the AEAWA sought clarification on the eligibility process for country relief, the application process and the order in which relief positions are advertised for AP, SM, and CP.

Casuals Clause
St John are seeking to broaden the casual clause from ’employees holding the title AP1′ to anyone holding the title of ‘Paramedic’. We feel that this proposed ‘minor change’ which St John sought to sneak into the agreement would have significant repercussions to the composition of our future workforce. The current wording provides for ‘Casuals’ to have completed the AP progression programme and attained AP1. The proposed wording would mean SJA could directly employ any paramedics as casuals. We just have to look at the PTO/Ambulance Transport Officer workforce, where casuals make up the bulk of the numbers, to see that this could mean an increasingly fragmented and casual laden workforce, with a hugely disrupted bargaining ability.

CEP content
St. John are proposing to include additional ‘non-operational’ material into paramedic CEP, which currently allocates a maximum of 20% to ‘non-clinical’ matters. The AEAWA strongly reject and will continue to strongly reject any move by SJA to reduce the amount of clinical content in CEP.

Managers on Road
The current ‘Managers on Road’ clause states that an employee may only work with a manager on road on a ‘voluntary’ basis. St. John wish to remove the voluntary component which would mean our members could arrive for work and be required to work with (for instance) an AM, MMO, Operations Manager, Clinical Manager, Country Manage, or a Director who happens to hold registration. St John claim that it is important for managers who are also paramedics to maintain clinical contact as part of their registration obligations, and feel this will be more necessary as the Depot AM’s will be more office based. The AEAWA have strongly rejected this proposed amendment, and suggest that if managers want clinical contact they can take over patient care of several ramped crews in hospitals as ‘ramping paramedics’, or to form a crew with another manager to cover shift change over and complete the 1730 P2 transfers.

Establishment Vehicles
The AEAWA attempted to outline a plan to mandate a ratio of 224 vehicles to Day vehicles, with a view to support the 224 roster and eventually manage fatigue on night shifts. The current strategy of St John in dealing with failing response time targets is to put on more and more non-permanent 4X4 demand vehicles on and completely neglect night shift coverage. The AEAWA point out that St John have not created any new 224 vehicles in many years, and seemingly have no intention to do so. Our proposed clause would ‘fix’ the ratio at 1 x 224 to 1.5 x 4X4 and mean the creation of significant number of new 224 vehicles to reach this ratio.

Reasonable overtime
The AEAWA outlined a proposed clause which would begin to define reasonable overtime, based on previous Fair Work recommendations following a test case brought by ACTU. This will hopefully give officers the ability to safely refuse to perform shift extension overtime under certain conditions. The AEAWA feel that any P3/P4 call which is liable to result in a shift extension is ‘unreasonable’, and feel that any ramping overtime for patients triaged as P3/P4 is further ‘unreasonable’. Your negotiation team summed this clause up by directly asking the St John assembled representatives, ‘What do you feel is reasonable overtime?’ Of course they were unable to answer. Further discussion will take place once St John have considered the draft clause.

The next meeting is scheduled for the 28th April. Please feel free to contact a delegate with any questions

31st March, 2021 - EBA Meeting 4 Minutes

Your negotiation team met today with senior management for the 4th scheduled EBA meeting.

This was planned short meeting due to the unavailability of several managers in the afternoon, and focussed on CCP and Special Ops claims, with some time spent outlining and justifying claims for the Deferred Salary Scheme, Ambulance Officer Exam Leave, Single Crew Activity Limitation, Health and Wellbeing Allowance, Workers Compensation and Career Progression. The meeting opened with SJA presenting some evidence regarding the usefulness of CCP on road, in relation to the Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC). SJA conceded that they believe the ideal on-road implementation of this model would be a CCP in a car with a Doctor on board. SJA believe there are around ‘3 patients per day’ who may benefit from CCP on road. SJA presented a 2019 research paper by Ben Beck* which indicated up to 20% of trauma deaths are potentially preventable, by bringing CCP skills to the patient (advanced airway, blood products, thoracostomy, point of care ultrasound), *B. Beck et al., Potentially preventable trauma deaths: A retrospective review, Injury (2019).

In regards to the Ben Beck’s 2019 paper, it is worth noting that out of 2752 pre-hospital or early in-hospital traumatic cardiac arrests (over a 7 year period between 2008-2014) the study identified 23 ‘potentially preventable or preventable’ traumatic deaths. Of these 23 cases, 8 were identified as having areas for improvement in the response system, including 4 that had long response times and 4 that had potential issues related to dispatch or recognition of the emergency. There was also 5 cases that had prolonged on scene times. SJA also outlined a 2019 report by Dr Chris Armstrong (specifically undertaken to look at implementing critical care interventions on road here in WA) of 2500 medical and trauma patients where up to 571 could have benefited from advanced CCP skill set. In regards to the report by Dr Chris Armstrong, the document presented seems extremely light on actual data and methodology. It is unclear how Dr Armstrong arrived at this these figures, and they appear to be purely a case sheet data extrapolation. It’s ‘summary of recommendations’ suggested it would be viable to deploy most skills to the existing CSP model. For instance, the most frequently identified/indicated intervention unavailable to Ambulance Paramedics in this report was Non-Invasive ventilation (1 patient per day was identified) for Acute Pulmonary Oedema.

To be clear, the AEAWA are NOT opposed to Critical Care on road, but the study cited above by Beck et al, also highlights the importance of having sufficient ambulance resources to enable a timely ambulance response, and does not reflect the latest traumatic cardiac arrest guidelines in place in WA, which emphasise short scene times. The proposed CAMC model does nothing to address the shortage of resources, does nothing to address ramping and the inappropriate prioritisation by ProQA, and in fact proposes to de-skill the general Ambulance Paramedic and focus skills on a small cohort of on road CCP + Doctor model.

It is worth noting here, that St John seem entirely concerned with ‘up to 3’ trauma patients per day, and entirely unconcerned with the multitude of patients waiting for ambulances, often with serious complex medical conditions, who need an ambulance dispatched to them urgently. The Acute Pulmonary Oedema patient doesn’t necessitate a CCP, they need a timely paramedic response with GTN, oxygen, and ideally CPAP as trialled, possibly a loop diuretic. We suggest that the emphasis on CCP is misplaced in the context of the current ambulance service crisis, which all on road staff know is at breaking point, and highlights how out of touch our managers are.

Other discussion topics were:
In regards to CCP on road, discussions occurred as to whether it would be mandatory to have worked as an on road CCP prior to being eligible to be a Helicopter CCP. SJA were unsure and would not commit to answer. It is SJA’s position that CCP’s would lose their allocated position in exchange for a permanent CCP position. SJA feel the ideal number of CCPs on road would be 3, but the number ultimately ‘comes down to affordability’. There are currently 14 CCP’s and all of them would be guaranteed a permanent position even in the event SJA lose the helicopter contract. SJA propose to increase CCP base hourly rate by 4.7% to account for using CCP skills being used on road.

As SJA indicated clearly last week, the proposed CACM will see a reduction in skills of Ambulance Paramedics. This will have mean the majority of patients receive a lower standard of clinical care, and have damaging knock on effects when Metro Paramedics work on country relief, where they will bring a lesser skill set, without a CCP as backup. In regards to Special Operations Paramedics, SJA wish to implement a on-call allowance, and reduce overtime incurred for training purposes to ‘SINGLE TIME’. The AEAWA will not support any clause which seeks to introduce single time rates for hours worked about normal hours, and see this as a mechanism to set a precedent to roll out single time overtime to other areas of the business. The AEAWA would also like to see sufficient expansion of numbers of Special Ops Paramedics, in preference to implementing an on-call system/allowance, as members should be able to enjoy their downtime wherever possible.

The AEAWA want to see recognition for the skills and experience within Special Ops and want an actual role developed for Special Ops, with its own classification and Payscales, which will see an actual pay rate allocated to the role, rather than officers receiving the normal rate only when they are Special Ops Paramedics. Other topics covered included:

Deferred Salary Scheme
Discussions took place with the AEAWA outlining the reasoning behind this claim, which is currently available to WAPOL and Ambulance Victoria. This scheme is cost neutral for St John and will be a good benefit to encourage staff retention.

Exam Leave for SAO’s
The AEAWA argued that it is patently unfair and unjust that SAO’s are not allocated time to sit exams required for the progression within the organisation, often being required to sit an exam following night shift. St John will examine the issue and report back.

Single Officer Activity
The AEAWA feel strongly that the EBA needs to have a clause limiting the duties to which a single officer can be tasked. As you are all well aware, there has been a recent tendency for St John to attempt to dispatch single officers responders in ambulance vehicles to attend jobs. The AEAWA feel this is unsafe instruction as it is a clear deviation from the baseline role for which we are trained, that of being part of an ambulance ‘crew’, in addition to putting undue pressure and risk upon an officer, where clearly the prevailing situation would indicate you have no opportunity for a backup. In addition, there has been recent attempts by St John to legitimise the practice of single officer ramping duties by altering the ‘SOP Patient Flow and Ramping Guideline’. Again, this is a high risk environment as repeatedly stated by CG, and exposes our members to additional clinical responsibility and risk, as well as increasing the risk to our patients who cannot by monitored as closely by a single officer. There is also the added risks whenever the single officer needs to undertake a break / food / cleaning / toilet.

Career Progression – Recruitment Process
The AEAWA argued strongly that the current ‘merit based’ recruitment process is in fact entirely based upon the applicants personality, ‘interview performance’, and with who SJA ultimately want to put in a role…with absolutely no weighting given to an applicants past experience, aptitude, resume, or courses or education they may have completed. We will continue to advocate for a recruitment and career progression clause to ensure fairness and transparency in the process.

Please feel free to contact a delegate with any questions.

17th March, 2021 - EBA Meeting 3 Minutes

Your negotiation team met with management today to conduct the 3rd Paramedic EBA bargaining session.

Much of this meeting was spent in discussions with St John regarding the proposed Clinical Appropriate Model of Care (CAMC).

The AEAWA was invited to provide feedback, which consisted of the following points:
generally there is very little appetite for the CAMC model from our membership the CAMC model is felt to be absolutely minimal in clinical impact, and wholly financial in motivation the model does nothing to address ramping, poor response times, night shift workload, inappropriate P2 hospital transfers, and increasing level of LOW ACUITY workload the CAMC model puts downward pressure on the average front-line ambulance paramedic wage the CAMC model will see a split in the makeup of front line ambulance crews, with 50% Qualified Paramedic or Intern, and 50% ambulance paramedic. This will see a disparity in conditions, create division and fuel resentment while providing a very limited increase in higher tier CCP positions, this model does nothing to address the bulk of our lower acuity workload

The AEAWA Negotiation Team have rejected outright the CAMC model in it’s current form. We have advised St John that we will only consider a plan which addresses the bulk of low acuity work, inappropriate P2 transfers, ramping, night shift P3/P4 call volume and which frees up front-line ambulances for emergency work. The AEAWA feel there is currently a large void between the skillset delivered to the community between ambulance paramedic and ambulance transport, where there exists an opportunity achieve true PROGRESS in delivering CLINICALLY APPROPRIATE CARE. St John have committed to consider the feedback and respond in due course.

Other points noted in today’s discussion were:
– St John indicated that the role of of CCP’s on road would see a reduction in AP skills, most likely in terms of airway management, certain IV skills
– St John also indicated that they do not want more vehicles at 3am, but they want more vehicles at peak demand times such as 1100-2300.
– St. John were unable to provide any concrete definition of ‘Establishment’
– St. John were unable to indicate how many ‘Interns’ they expect to take on, over and above the number of Interns they need to employ, but estimated between 25-50%
– St. John were unable to provide detail of what performance issues would prevent progression to a full time job.
– St. John were unable to provide a time limit for how long an unsuccessful Intern could be outside of the industry before being ineligible to apply for future QP vacancies

The remainder of this meeting saw St John working through the combined Log of Claims to explore the reasons behind, and motivations for the proposed clauses, including:

Annual Leave flexibility (smaller blocks)
Discussions centred around the need for the organisation to provide improved options and flexibility in taking of annual leave, including the possibility of taking annual leave in 1 week blocks, or even 1 day annual leave. It was argued by your representatives that reports from both the Independent Oversight Panel, the Chief Psychiatrist Review, and the Phoenix report highlighted inflexibility in leave allocation contributed to workplace stressors. St John argued that breaking leave into 1 week blocks would affect the ‘rolled up’ nature of salary, which assumes an averaged hours worked over 8 weeks. Further discussion floated the possibility of the conversion of 8 weeks annual leave to an annual leave hours figure, which would simplify the taking of smaller leave blocks. St. John will investigate.

Annual Leave at half pay
Again discussion here focused on the ability of our members to take their annual leave at half pay, thus extending a break from duties while maintaining an income. It was noted that this would be similar to taking 8 weeks on full pay and a further 8 weeks on leave without pay. This is correct but a benefit of the proposed clause is that employees would be entitled under an agreement to activate such a benefit, and not be subject to the discretionary nature of leave without pay applications. It was highlighted to St John that we estimate that only a small proportion of employees would seek to utilise this scheme.

Addition of 2 x Mental Health Days
It was highlighted to St John that it is patently unfair that employees who fall under the Administration and Support Services Enterprise Agreement get 2 leisure days annually on top of their 10 days sick leave, while front line emergency workers who can be exposed to trauma on a regular basis receive just the minimum National Employment Standard personal leave allocation of 10 days. St. John to consider and respond.

Pandemic Leave
The AEAWA have asked for 8 shifts of pandemic leave which would cover a 14 day isolation/quarantine period required should they be forced to isolate for a specific set of reasons. This would apply for any future WHO declared pandemic. It was highlighted that Public Sector employees have been granted 20 days coronavirus leave and that ambulance service is traditionally a function covered by the Public Sector in most states. A clause will be supplied to St John for consideration.

Special Leave
Your negotiators argued for an increase in special leave slots available from 6% of the shift to 8% of shift. It was also argued that officers should be able to accrue up to 96 hours positive balance to better manage their fatigue and personal commitments outside of work. It was highlighted to St. John that this was a cost neutral benefit as employees had already accumulated these hours, and therefore St John would not incur any significant costs in covering the special leave shift. Further the AEAWA feel it would better allow St John to plan for absences, by increasing the ability to utilise planned special leave, and therefore reduce unplanned sick leave, which is of course more difficult to cover at short notice.

Special Leave Portability
The AEAWA argued that it is unfair that an officer moving between country and metro is unable to move special leave between the two services. Discussion took place around the ability of smaller country centres to cover absences where an officer on relief attempts to use special leave, however they could not provide any reason why an officer who accrues special leave while in country should not be permitted to take this leave in metro. St. John to investigate.

Defence Service Leave
The AEAWA have put forward a proposal to increase Defence Service Leave to 10 days to align with federal provisions and most other emergency services, including WAPOL, DFES. St. John have noted the reasons for this proposal and will respond in due course.

We are still very early into the negotiations with many of the claims yet to be discussed. We will endeavour to keep our membership informed, but should you have any questions please contact a delegate. The next meeting is scheduled for 31st March 2021.

AEAWA Negotiation Team

3rd March, 2021 - EBA Meeting 2 Minutes

The AEAWA team attended the 2nd EBA negotiation meeting today. This meeting saw the official presentation of the AEAWA Log of Claims, followed by a more detailed exploration of St John’s ‘Clinical Appropriate Model of Care’ (CAMC) where St John sought to rationalise their plan, and explain the perceived benefits of this model. Discussions later focused on the role of CSP and its proposed evolution to ‘Clinical Lead’.

For reference, you will find attached a pdf comparison of the current education model vs proposed internship model, by clicking here.

The rationalisations and perceived benefits of the CAMC model as outlined by St John so far are:

St John argue the internship model is similar to what happens in some other states/territories and in New Zealand. St John claim the internship ‘CAMC’ model allows for savings in wages which would be used to fund a small number of permanent on-road CCP positions.

St John claims the internship model will allow St John to select only ‘high performing’ officers for permanent positions, as they will be on fixed term 2-year contracts. St John claim the internship / CAMC model allows for ‘additional career pathways’.

St John claim the CAMC will enable them to adapt to the ‘clinical operating environment we find ourselves in with regards to ambulance’; a situation of an increasing level patient demand of around 5%, ‘traveling further’ to provide the clinical care, while hospitals remain ‘static’(!), an ageing population requiring more complex care and the impact of delayed transfer of care (ramping).

St. John believe this is a unique opportunity to ‘renew the service’ and offer ‘more nuanced care’ to patient groups.

St John feel the CAMC model will provide the community with the care they need, appropriate to their situation, at the time they need for the sickest of patients, routine patients, and lower acuity patients. St John allege time is right to change the ‘one size fits all’ approach to a ‘tiered service’.

The AEAWA negotiation team explored many aspects and potential complications to the CAMC model, including: Just because something is performed interstate does not automatically suggest an improvement in relation to employment conditions and job security. The CAMC model will save on wages as ultimately around 50% of Registered Paramedics employed by St John will be permanently restricted to current AO Grade 2 wages (around $88,000 p/a).

This will cause:
• significant downward pressure on wage growth in our industry.
• lower the average wage of Registered Paramedics in our state.
• make it harder for Ambulance Paramedics to argue for wage increases, when similarly, qualified colleagues earn $25,000 less.
• fracture and create resentment amongst our workforce.

The proposed savings will only fund a small number of additional CCP positions, possibly 2-3 per shift. These would-be permanent positions and once filled will unlikely lead to any realistic career pathway for the majority of officers (how long has it been since the last CCP recruitment?), CSP pathway already exists. While the AEAWA will always support the creation of any new opportunities for our members, additional CCP’s will do nothing to address record low response times, record low standby capacity, record numbers of priority 1s/2s/3s that have often been outstanding for tens and tens of minutes to several hours. Additional CCP’s will not assist with increasing the size of our ‘establishment’ number of vehicles, nor make any significant impact on the care provided to the vast majority of our patients. Additional CCP’s will not assist with night shift workload.

St John we’re unable to identify any new career pathways, other than the ability for Ambulance Paramedics to step down to Qualified paramedics (where they would have the same skill set and obligations but incur up to a $25,000 pay cut). St. John could not identify any way the new Clinical Appropriate Care Model changed the actual clinical care the vast majority of patients would receive, other than a handful of CCP cases attended. St John could not indicate how the CAMC would, for instance, prevent elderly falls patients being left on the floor for hours awaiting an ambulance, while hospital transfers are given priority.

St John could not detail if the cost savings obtained from the CAMC/Intern model would ultimately dwarf the outlay of the proposed CCP positions (…it would!). The AEAWA feel this Clinical Appropriate Model of Care really offers nothing significant in terms of clinical ‘nuanced’ care, and certainly does not help serve the community of WA who deserve an ambulance service which has capacity to respond. Sadly, it appears entirely motivated by finance, disguised as ‘clinical improvement’ and ‘tiering’, but with no effort to manage the bulk of our workload which is in fact low acuity. The AEAWA are not opposed to strategies that improve finances if the savings are reinvested in front line responses and actual crews on road.

The next meeting is scheduled 17th March 2021 and we will endeavour to provide an update of any important developments.

St John is encouraging officers to interact with a dedicated Yammer group, so they can offer reassurances and safeguards to officers about their current conditions. We would ask our members to be mindful that often seemingly innocuous changes to our conditions can have serious unanticipated consequences ‘down the track’. It is important that changes are scrutinised thoroughly, and that a balanced interpretation is presented. We would therefore respectfully encourage our members to
contact us on [email protected] and we will obtain answers on your behalf.

AEAWA Negotiation Team

24th February, 2021 - EBA Meeting 1 Minutes

This meeting was for all three groups (AEAWA, SJA and UWU) to present their Log of Claims for the 2020 EBA Negotiations

Paramedics/Ambulance Officers 2020 EBA Information

17th March, 2020 - The Combined Log of Claims

To view the Combined Log of Claims, click here.

12th March, 2020 - Consolidation of SJA Offer and Combined Log of Claims

To view the Consolidated SJA Offer and Combined Log of Claims, click here.

The AEAWA Paramedics/Ambulance Officers 2020 Log of Claims

Click here to view the AEAWA Log of Claims for the 2020 Paramedics/Ambulance Officers EBA Negotiations.