St John Ambulance paramedics ‘bullied, harassed’ by management: Union survey

by | May 10, 2021 | News | 0 comments

More than three quarters of NT paramedics say St John Ambulance puts profits ahead of the welfare of workers and nearly half say they have been bullied and harassed by management for engaging in protected action during bargaining negotiations, a union survey has found.

The United Workers Union NT survey also found that 86 per cent of paramedics feel that the “NT government and opposition does not care about the issues facing the NT Ambulance service and its employees”.

It also revealed that 78 per cent of staff who responded feel their welfare is ignored in regional centres due to the current on-call rosters and the lack of fatigue management and that 78 per cent also said they have not been provided training or professional development which they have been paying for over the last two years.

Nearly 150 staff members took part in the survey, the union said.

United Workers Union NT secretary Erina Early reiterated the group’s call to move the management of NT’s ambulance service to government hands and said the survey should be concerning for every Territorian.

“The outcomes of this survey should send a chill down every Territorian and reinforces the fact that no emergency services should be privatized,” Ms Early said.

“It’s time to listen to the strong voices of our NT paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers and patient transport officers as they call for the ambulance service to be brought back into public hands.”

The survey also found that 81 per cent of workers feel St John Ambulance NT puts profit motives before the fatigue of workers.

While 64 per cent feel there is a toxic workplace and senior management allows this toxicity to thrive, while 44 per cent said they have been bullied, harassed, or targeted by management because they engaged in protected industrial action during the current enterprise agreement.

St John says union did not raise the toxic workplace issues with them

St John Ambulance privately runs the Northern Territory and Western Australia’s ambulance services, while elsewhere in Australia ambos are government-run.

Ms Early said Territorians should be concerned that a medical service is “being run like a business”.

But St John NT CEO Judith Barker said that the union had not provided management with any details regarding the survey before releasing publicly last Friday.

She said the company would investigate workplace bullying and harassment allegations.

“The union has made claims of bullying in our workforce but has not once provided us with any details.  We have no tolerance for workplace bullying or harassment, so please let us know,” Ms Barker said.

“We have been in negotiation regarding our Enterprise Bargaining Agreement with the United Workers Union since November 2018 and met with them more than 30 times. Our current offer provides a range of benefits valued at $2.57m including 10 per cent wage increase over four years, a sign-on bonus and back pay, a number of leave entitlements and professional development benefits.

“The longer the union delays, the longer our staff have to wait to receive these benefits.”

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