Absolute pandemic legends (paramedics) join nurses and strike

Paramedics and nurses are now on strike due to poor working conditions and a lack of support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid empty promises and shallow thanks, paramedics across New South Wales have gone on strike for better pandemic support, more specialist training and a wage rise beyond the 2.5 per cent annual cap.

During the 24-hour industrial action, which commenced at midnight last night, paramedics – some of the state’s biggest pandemic legends – will not leave their allocated stations to fill roster gaps elsewhere.

Paramedics at work.
Image courtesy: Unsplash.

The Australian Paramedics Association (APA) NSW is demanding that the state government commit to hiring 1500 new paramedics and ambos.

With paramedic union members voting almost unanimously in support of the strike, it’s clear that the COVID pandemic has taken a toll on our emergency services. As working conditions have deteriorated, media reports have abounded of health workers fleeing the industry.

It’s just one kick in the guts after another, and to be honest we’ve had it … Paramedics are just sick of being treated like rubbish by the Government and by this Premier”, APA (NSW) Delegate Brett Simpson told 7News.

While the union has banned staff movements and acknowledged that there may be delays in response time, it promises that interruptions will be minimal. There is no ban on staff attending serious or life-threatening calls.

This strike builds on the momentum of the nurses’ strike and associated rallies on Tuesday afternoon. Nurses have not gone on strike in New South Wales since 2013, which gives you a fair indication of the pressure on our healthcare system right now. In short: it’s intense.

Crisis talks between health authorities and industry representatives do not appear to be going swimmingly with no resolution reached thus far. The Industrial Relations Commission banned the strike but health workers have proceeded with industrial action regardless. Good on them!

Considering the importance of these jobs, you would think it would make for a pretty straightforward negotiation however, bureaucracy continues to get in the way.

Here’s hoping that these legends get what they need soon!