Systematic Rostering of ACOs to Full Shifts
This weekend the Union was inundated with calls from Rural Paramedics about the widespread rostering of Ambulance Community Officers (ACO) to full shifts across the Grampians and Gippsland Regions.
Members have informed the Union that there was no attempt by AV to roster paramedics to many of these shifts. Instead ACOs were rostered to full shifts while paramedics who had registered their interest well in advance to work over the weekend were not contacted. This is a clear breach of the Agreement and of longstanding practice within AV.
There were also concerns about ACOs being required to occupy unfit work locations including a steel shed in Rainbow that has no running water and a small single room in Hopetoun (both without recline facilities). ACOs should never have been placed in this position.
The Union refers members to the Ambulance Victoria Enterprise Agreement 2015:
Clause 33.3 ACOs may be utilised to support paramedics providing single officer responses where two officer crewing is not immediately available.
Clause 33.4 ACOs may also be used to provide a response in circumstances where paramedics are not available to immediately respond.
From time to time ACOs will be utilised where AV has been unsuccessful in filling a shift with a paramedic. However, this recent event is a widespread and systematic breach of the EBA and demonstrates a clear intention to introduce a new practice of rostering ACOs over paramedics in Rural Regions.
Further the Union was not consulted about this proposal prior to it occurring. It was thanks to communication from our members that we were informed of these changes.
In the past the Union has raised ideas for increasing the utilisation of ACOs and paramedics students within the parametres of the Agreement. Where the Union is consulted prior to introducing new measures, we can avoid disputes, ensure minimum standards are met and work together to achieve a better outcome. It is disappointing that this did not occur in this instance.
The Union would like to thank all of the members who raised concerns on behalf of ACOs and ask that you continue to keep the Union informed of any instances of rostering of ACOs to full shifts and safety concerns.
The Union also acknowledges that once made aware, AV CEO Tony Walker intervened and terminated the arrangement.
Acting General Secretary