NSW paramedics will go on strike today despite being ordered not to take industrial action, their union has declared.
"We've been in the Industrial Commission this afternoon and we've had orders put upon us to refrain from taking any strike, action or industrial, action," Health Services Union secretary Gerard Hayes told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
The strike means that paramedics will go to urgent, life-threatening jobs, but won't be attending less serious incidents like a broken arm.
The union did not take the move lightly but said they had to support the strike because the state's paramedics are being underpaid and disrespected.
"This is something we will not walk away from," Mr Hayes said.
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Strike action in the face of an Industrial Commission order means the union could face fines. Mr Hayes said the union respected the commission but the treatment of workers was morally wrong.
Paramedics are upset they've effectively been given a pay cut despite being on the front line during pandemic.
This year's proposed 1.5 per cent pay offer was less than inflation, which NSW Treasury forecasts at 2.2 per cent for the coming year.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday that her government would take up any opportunity to provide additional support to frontline workers.
"I just urge everybody to wait for the budget and wait for the package of things that we are giving to our workers," she told reporters.
The premier told parliament on Wednesday that she, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Health Minister Brad Hazzard had all recently met with the HSU and a "constant discussion" on paramedic pay was taking place."
Mr Perrottet met with 30 HSU members on Wednesday morning. Mr Hayes admitted the treasurer was "very good" and had listened to concerns.
But he said it was about the follow through, not just being listened to.
Paramedics don't want to wait and see what they get in the budget because there would be no guarantee of a satisfactory outcome, the union boss said.
"We're not going to be in a position where paramedics who give of themselves get nothing in return."
Australian Associated Press
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