Some Ballarat ambulance officers are looking for work interstate and some are thinking about leaving the industry, according to a local paramedic.
Workplace bans began yesterday as paramedics begin their fight for better pay and conditions.
The bans include paramedics refusing to work above their pay grade and speaking publicly about workplace conditions in their bid to obtain a pay rise of 30 per cent over three years.
In Ballarat, about 50 paramedics are spread between branches in Wendouree, Ballarat Central and Sebastopol.
Wendouree branch member Barry Brennan was able to speak to The Courier yesterday as part of protected industrial action taken by Ambulance Employees Australia members.
Mr Brennan, a paramedic for 14 years – the last five in Ballarat – said he knew of local paramedics looking elsewhere for work.
He said that in South Australia or the ACT wages were up to 30 per cent higher than what is available in Victoria.
He also said some paramedics in Ballarat were considering leaving the industry altogether.
“The major concern for us is that shifts are being left unfilled due to a lack of personnel and resourcing,” he said.
“If someone is off sick, there’s no one to replace them.”
Mr Brennan said the only means of replacing a sick or injured colleague is for another paramedic to do overtime.
“Due to paramedic fatigue and poor morale, people are just not putting their hands up,” he said.
Mr Brennan said a shift was going unfilled in Ballarat “most weekends.”
“To be honest, if you’re seriously ill on a weekend, it’s pot luck if you get an ambulance within a quick timeframe.”
The comments come after a report found more than half of Victorian paramedics plan to quit
their jobs in the next five years to
look for higher-paid work elsewhere.
The survey of 600 paramedics released yesterday shows that of the 55 per cent who planned to quit within five years, almost a third wanted to work as a paramedic elsewhere in Australia.
Ambulance Victoria said it was bound by the government’s public-sector wage policy of 2.5 per cent a year, with any further rises to be traded for productivity gains.