In a huge vote of confidence in the Marshall Government’s strong plan to further improve our health system, Ambulance Employees Association (AEA) members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Government’s offer to employ an extra 74 full-time equivalent ambos – in a move that ends the long-running stalemate.
A vote of union members – which AEU secretary Phil Palmer has described this morning as ‘a very strong 91% support’ for the deal – also involves the end of all industrial action and comprehensive roster reform.
Treasurer Rob Lucas welcomed the resounding acceptance of the deal by front-line employees and said the SA Ambulance Service will begin the recruitment process of the extra ambulance officers and paramedics immediately.
“Finally, after months of dispute, our hardworking ambos and paramedics have had an opportunity to have their voices heard and they have strongly agreed with the Government’s positive plan,” Mr Lucas said.
“This is a huge step forward, not only for those on the front-line, but for all South Australians who rely on the service.
“The SA Ambulance Service will now begin the recruitment process, with employees hired as soon as possible and, with training required, the last of the new FTEs will be on board no later than the end of March next year, in accordance with the agreement.
“We recognise the enormous contribution our hardworking ambos make in our community and this deal will help ensure they can deliver the best possible service to South Australians while reducing fatigue and improving work-life balance.”
Mr Lucas said consistent with the terms of the agreement, a direction has been issued by the SAAS Chief Executive Officer this morning for all chalking to end, effective immediately, and for all graffiti messages to be removed from ambulances as a matter of priority.
Mr Lucas said the extra 74 FTE ambos are in addition to the extra 187 full-time equivalent staff employed in the first two years of the Marshall Government (July 2018 to June 2020 according to the independent Auditor-General).
Of these 74 additional FTE, up to 24 will be allocated to country stations – including Port Augusta, Whyalla and Ceduna – to bolster their workforce and further improve services in our regions.
Even more ambulance officers will be employed upon the finalisation of all enterprise bargaining negotiations.
The union has agreed to the new roster reform models being completed by 30 June 2021.
“The AEA and SAAS commit to operational staff rostering reform for additional roster models by 30 June 2021. The consultation in respect of this will focus on the more efficient rostering of SAAS Operational staff and will include additional roster models such as a 10.5 hour shift pattern that requires on 1 crib break and shifting the balance towards an increased reliance on other existing shorter shift arrangements,” the agreement states.