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Recently there has been some messaging from St John, requesting officers to relay their preferences for short shift length etc. While we appreciate many of our members do like shorter shifts for the purposes of overtime, there has been no attempt to discuss this with your bargaining representatives, despite us having been in negotiations with St John for nearly 12 months, and despite us fighting to increase establishment numbers.

The AEAWA believe that filling all ‘normal’ full length 224 shifts on the roster should be the first and highest priority, before any ‘short shift’ overtime is offered. A fully and adequately resourced roster relieves pressure for all of our colleagues, and while there may be a place for short shift overtime after this, it should not replace or negate the obligation to fully cover all 224 shifts. One concern is that short shift overtime further feeds the mentality that all the organisation just needs to match ‘supply and demand’, and that maintaining an actual standby capacity is unnecessary. Another concern is that practices which are enacted in these times of high demand can quickly become normal (cheaper) practice. Sadly, the organisation has steadily eroded standby capacity for a number of years in order to maximise productivity, but appear surprised when a surges in demand cause exceed resourcing.

We of course support our members in communicating their preference for short shifts, but please be mindful that this may have unintended consequences which could further erode and fracture the roster, and enable the continued ‘threadbare’ rostering in metro.