Coffs Coast ambos back industrial action

UNDERVALUED and angry NSW ambulance officers are refusing to charge the public for use of the service indefinitely, after their calls for better working conditions were ignored by the State Government yesterday.

Coffs Coast officers are supporting the industrial action taken, following a rally outside Parliament House in Sydney on Wednesday at which the Health Services Union (HSU) gave the State Government 48 hours to commit to employing 300 additional officers and to sacking NSW Ambulance Service chief executive Greg Rochford.

They received no response. And as of 12pm yesterday, Fare Free Days apply to anyone using the NSW Ambulance Service – an act that the HSU says will cost the state $1.5 million per week in lost revenue.

Organiser of the NSW Health Services Union Mid North Coast sub-branch, Kim Hazelwood, said the action specifically targets the State and the community will not be detrimentally affected.
"There will be zero effect to the community – in fact it will probably be positive. This action is aimed directly at the government. The service will operate as they usually do in the community, there will be no problems with the service," she said.

"It's just the paperwork regarding billing will not be attended to."

"Ambulance officers are fed up with a NSW Service that continues to put the community at risk with chronic understaffing. The bans will continue until the matter is resolved."

Mr Rochford told reporters negotiations were on the table.

"I don't think the personal approach is helpful. There is extra staff on the table, there is extra staff planned," he said.

"We will continue to talk with the union to better understand the issues that they're intending to resolve on the overtime work and I'm sure we can get a way through."

He said the intended industrial action was "unhelpful", but full ambulance emergency services would be maintained.

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