Ambulance workers set to strike

By Regan Paranihi

Over one thousand ambulance workers across the country who are employed by St John are going on strike today. They are refusing to attend non-emergency event work in a bid to get shift recognition payments that reflect the hours they work on a seven-day week rotation.

St John is contracted to provide emergency ambulance services on behalf of the Ministry of Health and ACC, but front line emergency crews feel they are reporting concerns that their services are being offered up to cover private hire for sporting and other commercial events run by private business.

Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing Secretary Jared Abbott says St John needs to be reminded of its operational obligations to everyday New Zealanders.

“St John is already being funded to provide emergency ambulance pre-hospital care so should not be sending front line staff to private events when we know we are short of ambulance professionals.”

Abbott says, “It is an indictment when you see an emergency health provider, unlike other front line service providers, having to become beholden to commercial interests in preference to their contracted obligations.”