Tasmanian paramedics have decided to not accept rostered overtime and only work overtime shifts when they want as the public sector continues its fight with the government over a 2 per cent pay increase cap.
The Health and Community Sector Union on Monday announced it would join public sector industrial action with bans that included a decision for members to work to rule, claim all allowances, take breaks on time, and use fatigue management in the way that best suits them.
Vehicles are to be also adorned with messages in chalk.
HACSU state secretary Tim Jacobson said Tasmanian paramedics on average received $10,000 less a year than their mainland counterparts.
Paramedics fought for a 14 per cent pay increase during the last Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations with the government.
This was recommended by the Tasmanian Industrial Commission in 2014.
Mr Jacobson said most workers instead had to accept the government policy of a 6 per cent increase over three years while communications staff and managers were brought up to parity through additional increments and different pay classifications.
He would not reveal what figure the union had sought during negotiations this time around.
“We’re certainly not looking in the order of 14 per cent,” Mr Jacobson said.
“What we want into is the government to sit down and negotiate a reasonable wages offer.”
Paramedic Lauren Hepher said staff action would not impact emergency responses or treatment to the public by paramedics.
She said workers were working unsustainable overtime of more than 12 to 14-hour shifts with few breaks to deal with issues within the system.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the government had employed an additional 70 paramedics since 2014.
He said the offer of 6 per cent over three years was a responsible and affordable offer.
“I would hope that the unions would stop their militant industrial action and work with us on other terms and conditions,” Mr Gutwein said.
Mr Jacobson said the health system needed an additional 100 paramedics.
“The government will say they are putting on 42 more paramedics, but it’s simply not good enough,” he said.
“These extra employees will be directed to country stations to deal with long-term fatigue issues, but the issues associated with hospital ramping and lack of resources to respond will remain the same.”
Labor health spokeswoman Sarah Lovell said the government needed to negotiate in good faith to show they valued health workers.