Following on from members voting emphatically to take part in industrial action the Victorian Ambulance Union Incorporated (VAU) has formally notified Ambulance Victoria (AV) of our intention to take protected industrial actions. The actions have been notified to commence at 0700 on Monday 18 March 2024 and are indefinite. Further instructions for these actions, and answers to some frequently asked questions, are provided below:

FAQs – further details about your right to take part in the protected industrial action.

  • Can I lose my job for taking part in the Protected Industrial Action?

No. Your employment is protected whilst taking the listed actions. The FWC has approved the actions listed above for members to further their claims with respect to a proposed Enterprise Agreement.

  • Why are there only 15 actions when we voted on 26?

The ballot authorises us to commence action in the next 30 days (which can be extended to 60). The actions outlined above are only the first wave of action. We will assess AV and the Government’s response to these actions, and if appropriate, notify some or all of the remaining actions.

  • Who can participate in the Protected Industrial Action?

If you are a VAU member, nominated the VAU as your bargaining representative and were eligible to vote in the protected action ballot (regardless of whether you voted yes to particular actions or not), you have the right to participate in any or all of the protected actions listed above. As it is protected, AV cannot target you for taking part in the actions notified.

  • Will employees be deducted pay for taking part in industrial action?

Currently, members can only be deducted pay for engaging in the protected action of stopping work for 5 minutes to write enterprise bargaining campaign messages on the outside of a vehicle, or stopping work to speak to the media for up to 10 minutes. The other actions are partial work bans. For AV to deduct pay for taking part in partial work bans, section 471(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)requires that they have to give an employee written notice, stating that because of the partial work ban, the employee’s payments will be reduced by a proportion. A calculation supplied by the FWC must be applied.

It is unlikely that AV would seek to reduce employees’ pay for taking part in partial work bans.  The other option that AV have is to refuse to accept partial performance of work. This is also extremely unlikely.

  • Will the actions have or health and safety concerns?

The VAU has notified actions that will not present a risk to the health and safety of patients or the public at large. We know that our members would not want to take any action that would compromise patient safety.

  • Can new members participate in the current notified actions if they weren’t an eligible member at the time of the vote?

No, they cannot. If new members – or existing members who have not nominated the VAU – wish to nominate the VAU as their bargaining representative, they can still do so. The VAU may apply for a second round of industrial action, and therefore it is important that new and existing members ensure that they nominate the VAU as their bargaining representative if they have not already.

  • Do I have to take part in industrial action?

No, you can choose to take part in none, some, or all of the actions. The VAU urge you to take part in all the protected actions. Improvements to wages and conditions only happen when members fight hard for their claims and resist employers attempts to scare them into accepting below par Agreements.

  • How long will the actions go for?

The actions have been notified for an indefinite period. VAU members will continue to take industrial action until the Government takes notice and presents an offer that gives ambulance workers the pay and conditions that they deserve.