By NICOLE KUTER
PARAMEDICS in Orange will go on strike next week to protest against roster changes sanctioned by the Industrial Relations Commission.
The industrial umpire ruled the ambulance service would roll out its new roster, which cuts shifts back to eight hours but increases on-call hours.
The Ambulance Service of NSW suggested the reforms would give paramedics more chance of a break even though they were still on call.
Health Services Union central west sub-branch president Ian Spurway believes all Orange paramedics will join the action. The strike will occur from midnight on Friday and last for 24 hours.
He assured no lives would be put at risk during the strike.
“We’ll continue emergency work but we won’t be doing things like patient transport from hospital to hospital, attending sporting facilities like the races and it will affect overtime,” he said.
Mr Spurway said Orange paramedics were already short-staffed, pushed to the limit and the roster changes would only compound the fatigue.
“These changes mean we’re virtually tied to the ambulance,” he said.
“It will affect our relationships, our families.”
Mr Spurway said paramedics in Sydney had joined the resolution passed at a HSU meeting on Saturday. He believed with their help paramedics would be able to send a clear message to the Ambulance Service of NSW.
“It is just a way to meet budget guidelines,” he said.
“We get flogged all day in Orange on our normal shift, this will be just compounding all of that.”
Mr Spurway said the roster changes would mean paramedics would be on call five days a week instead of two. Paramedics will have one weekend off a month.