Health workers' pay appeal

THE state government has appealed against pay rises awarded to ambulance paramedics and nurses.

The Tasmanian Industrial Commission granted paramedics a 14.1 per cent wage increase three weeks ago, following a 15-month work value case requested by the Health and Community Services Union.

Neroli Ellis

Neroli Ellis

But Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the decision did not take into account the flow-on effects to other sectors, and the impact on Tasmania's budget.

``The government's challenge to the TIC decision does not in any way detract from our respect for ambulance officers and the valuable work they do,'' Mr Gutwein said.

``It is about the budget and the state's capacity to pay.

``This decision alone is estimated to cost the budget at least $4.5 million.''

HACSU state secretary Tim Jacobson said paramedics were furious.

``I think any attempt to soften the message to paramedics by the government is only going to be seen as crocodile tears,'' Mr Jacobson said.

``But we're back to court, and as I've said, we will put as much effort into winning this appeal as we did in the case itself.''

The state government has also appealed against other decisions by the commission last month to reclassify family child health nurses as specialists and award them a pay rise.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Neroli Ellis said the pay rise, which applied to 11 nurses, translated to an additional $1200 a year or 60 an hour for each nurse.

``To the nurses it's not about the money, it's all about being valued as specialist nurses, and the department continues to devalue nurses and it certainly leads to morale issues,'' Mrs Ellis said.

``It is probably a bit of a precedent case, I think they're concerned about that, because there are other nurses arising out of the new career structure that are seeking reviews.

``But the bottom line is that there is a range of nurses now doing much higher scopes and in more autonomous roles, that now appropriately should be recognised as clinical nurse specialists.''


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