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Transport EBA Update

By 2 June 2021June 5th, 2021No Comments


Dear Transport Officers,

On Friday 28th May the AEAWA was contacted by Employee Relations who requested a meeting in regards to the Transport Officer EBA. Our members need no reminding that Transport negotiations have been stalled since December 2020.

The email outlined that due to recent leadership changes at the executive level, St John have now reviewed the offer details and wished to present a revised offer.

St John declined to distribute the offer document prior to the proposed meeting.

Today your negotiation team met with senior management and was presented with the attached offer. Click here to view the document.

In summary, there was some positive movement in relation pay offer which St John increased to 1.5% per annum, over the life of the agreement. Remembering that this offer was initially 0% per annum.

St. John have presented an offer which also includes an agreement to provide pro rata Long Service Leave after 7 years, a new clause providing for Special Leave Exchange, include a Transition to Retirement clause.

In addition, St. John have agreed to revise a Leave Guide to allow
a) leave to be swapped in the same calendar year
b) request for 1 week or more reduced from 6 weeks to 4 weeks prior to date of leave
c) requests for 1 day reduced to 1 weeks notice.

However, despite these welcome proposals, we have some major items which remain the subject of ongoing dispute.

Firstly, the AEAWA do not agree with the SJA proposal to ‘cap’ new Transport Officers on Year 3 pay scale. Despite the offer to ‘grandfather’ existing officers who are on Year 5, or who are already employed as Transport Officers, we do not feel this serves our industry, our current membership, or our future membership. Much like the Paramedic offer, this plan to cap wages within Transport will lower average wage in the medium to longer term, and put downward pressure on wage growth. The AEAWA feel that that Year 5 Transport Officer wages is far from excessive in terms of a living wage and absolutely must not be eroded further and removed from the industry.

Secondly, SJA wish to remove the classification of MHTO. Undoubtedly SJA will be re-tendering for any future Mental Health contracts, and so we feel this is simply a mechanism to lower MHTO wages and re-tender based on regular (lower) Transport Officer wages. We have taken this on notice and will respond formally at a later date.

The AEAWA understand that St John want to ‘remain competitive’ in an industry which is now open to other business for tendering, however we firmly believe that there are efficiencies elsewhere in the business that can be implemented in preference to eroding wages, wages which have already stagnated in recent years.

SJA indicated that there a huge numbers of graduate ‘registered’ paramedics who are unable to find work, and that this proposal will offer them employment. Far from being a humanitarian effort on behalf of SJA, clearly this is a situation in which SJA has realised that can provide paramedic services at a much cheaper rate by exploiting these graduates.

The second issue is the proposed introduction of a new position/role under the Transport Agreement, of ‘Transport Paramedic’. The AEAWA have indicated we are not willing to accept the ‘blurring of the lines’ between agreements, and would only consider accepting the job title ‘Transport Medic’, coupled with clear guidelines around the type of work that can be undertaken by these crews, and the mechanisms of crew formation within Transport themselves. SJA have indicated they want the ‘paramedic’ in the title so they can compete with rival transport industries, however it was highlighted that they can advertise the AHPRA qualification of this proposed role directly to the client (WA Health, private hospitals etc) without needing a job title to explicitly state Paramedic. The AEAWA believe that this need within the industry (eg monitored hospital transfer ‘para crew reqd’) exists, a suitably qualified paramedic can undertake this work, while working under a job title of ‘Transport Medic’. If St John wish to have a job title of Paramedic it must be included in the AO/Paramedic Agreement, and the officers must have completed the SAO programme.

The AEAWA have a number of concerns surrounding this proposed job title, including:

1) All job titles containing ‘Paramedic’ are currently covered only by the 2018 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics Enterprise Agreement. The introduction of a Paramedic classification within a different EBA raises a number of knock on issues across both Transport and Paramedic agreements which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the wider workforce.
2) Current Transport Officers are concerned they will be relegated to the role of ‘driver’ when working with ‘Transport Paramedics’
3) There is provision within the job description provided for the Pilot of ‘Transport Paramedic’ to respond to to community calls, in particular Priority 2 calls. We believe that should St John establish mechanisms to serve 000 calls with a Transport Paramedic/Transport Officer model (therefore much more economically than Paramedic/Ambulance Officer) they will have NO incentive to increase Ambulance Paramedic numbers, when they can simply grow the number of these hybrid Transport crews.
4) The provision of Transport Paramedics working on Year 5 Transport Agreement wages will produce significant downward pressure on the average Paramedic wage in our industry.
5) We disagree that new Transport Officers should be confined to Year 3, while this proposed new role will earn Year 5.

We would like to make it clear to our members in both Transport and the Paramedic workforce that our position on the above seeks to protect both workforces. The proposed introduction of registered paramedics (job title tba) is clearly an issue which overlaps both agreements, and has, we strongly believe, big potential implications for both. Therefore this proposal needs to be examined very closely and considered for all possible unintended (or intended) negative implications for our members, and the industry in general. At this stage, we are opposed to the job title of Paramedic across 2 agreements. In our opinion that it is the failure of SJA to consider both Transport and Paramedics as part of the same business that leads to inefficiencies, and insufficient resources to meet the demands of both 000 and booked calls.

AEAWA Negotiation Team