St John strike heats up as workers face pay deduction
Ambulance officers taking strike action against St John are getting slapped with a 10 percent wage deduction.
Some staff are entering a third month of action, protesting growing workloads and "mismanagement at the top" says FIRST Union spokesperson Jared Abbot.
Mr Abbott says the 10 percent wage deduction couldn't come at a worse time, with many finding out on Christmas Eve.
"Having a 10 percent deduction of wages at this time of year is diabolical for them" he told Newshub.
St John Clinical Operations Director, Norma Lane claims the deductions are "out of concern for the health and safety of our staff, patients and other emergency personnel"; a stance the union is questioning the validity of.
"If St John is worried about health and safety then they wouldn't force ambulance officers to work nine hours without a break and they wouldn't send single-crewed ambulances to emergencies," said Abbott.
The strike action includes a uniform ban, meaning ambulance officers will break the uniform policy and wear t-shirts reading "Healthy Ambos Save Lives". St John has requested that those workers striking "wear the correct uniform on their lower half and a union provided tee-shirt on their top half, and when attending a job to wear a St John high viz vest for the whole job cycle."
They said they had received concerned feedback from patients, fellow officers and other emergency workers "about the lack of professionalism and non-identifiable uniform attire".
Ambulance officers are otherwise responding to emergency call-outs as normal, leading FIRST union to question why the deductions have been made.
"The wage deductions are pretty astounding. The actions ambulance officers are taking cost St John nothing."