Ambulance officers strike over pay in NSW

The NSW government's pay offer to ambulance workers has been described as pathetic and humiliating .
The NSW government's pay offer to ambulance workers has been described as pathetic and humiliating .

Ambulance workers in NSW have voted to take immediate strike action in non-emergency situations over a "humiliating" and "pathetic" pay rise offer.

Non-emergency patient transport officers will strike until 6am on Friday, the Health Services Union announced on Thursday.

The workers are outraged at an offer of a 0.3 per cent pay increase, especially given the critical role they played in the pandemic, HSU NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes says.

"For the last year, patient transport officers have ferried COVID positive patients from the airport to hotel quarantine, exposing themselves to a deadly, unknown pathogen," he said in a statement.

"In return, the treasurer has made a humiliating annual pay offer that wouldn't even buy a cappuccino each week."

"This is pathetic."

Patient transport officer Alana Fernandez said her colleagues had made sacrifices for the state during the pandemic and deserve better.

Roughly half her colleagues have had to quarantine at home with their families for two weeks after coming into contact with COVID-19 patients.

"We've been the frontline workers ... and this is the slap in the face that we get?" she said.

The union is seeking a 4.7 per cent pay increase and better salary packaging.

Instead a 0.3 per cent raise has been offered to the whole public sector.

That has pushed paramedics to the brink of industrial action too, Mr Hayes said.

"The cost of living is rising across NSW, with surging property prices and rents and increased inflation," he said.

"This means the treasurer's pay offer is effectively a pay cut. That's a hell of a way to reward the heroes of the pandemic."

Widespread industrial action across the health system will follow if a fair pay increase isn't offered, he said.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet's office has been contacted for comment.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Thursday:"The budget process will outline our wages policy moving forward but we'll make sure we're extremely fair to our frontline workers, we're very grateful for everything they've done."

Australian Associated Press