AMBULANCE Victoria employees will step up their fight for equity with their metropolitan colleagues at a crisis meeting in Ballarat today.Between 20 and 30 senior paramedics and managers representing rural and regional areas are expected to seek a statewide industrial action ballot after the state government failed to resolve the situation.Senior industrial officer at the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia, Sharelle Herrington, said Ambulance Victoria employees had no option but to turn to industrial action."It's got to a stalemate now. The state government is refusing to guarantee that people doing the same work across the state will get the same pay, and has not agreed to support the principle of no cuts to take-home pay,'' Ms Herrington said."Senior ambulance staff across the state are alarmed by the government's actions and they are holding crisis meetings this week to plan their next actions.''Ambulance Victoria's most senior and experienced paramedics, managers and professionals previously employed by Rural Ambulance Victoria until it was merged with the Melbourne-based Ambulance Victoria will be at the meeting."The managers and professionals in rural Victoria are paid significantly less than their city counterparts. The situation is untenable and must be resolved by the government," Ms Herrington said."The government under-funded the merger of the state's ambulance services two years ago and must now address the real issues which will inevitably affect the service."The terms under which professionals and managers were employed expired at the end of last year.Ms Herrington said the employees being mistreated played essential roles during the Black Saturday bushfires and heatwaves that put a drain on ambulance resources."They manage major emergencies, co-ordinate paramedic resources in each region, take care of critical IT functions and serve other fundamentally important roles," she said.
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