10 Feb 2017

Striking ambos reach agreement

12:34 pm on 10 February 2017

A union representing ambulance workers says it has reached a deal with St John it hopes will end months of industrial action.

A St John Ambulance in Paihia.

St John ambulance staff have been on strike since October. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

First Union and St John have been at loggerheads over a new collective agreement since October.

The union said people were working long hours without suitable breaks.

Its members have been wearing union T-shirts reading 'Healthy Ambos Save Lives', instead of the usual uniform.

First Union said it has now struck a compromise with St John and will recommend ratifying a new agreement to its members.

The details of the offer will remain secret until then, but there was some give-and-take, said a spokesperson for the union, Lynette Blacklaws.

"There was a very robust discussion between the union and its delegates the other day and we agreed we're fighting on behalf of all ambulance staff, not just those in First Union," she said.

"It's about making the profession safer and a healthier environment."

She said the uniform action would continue until 1 March, or until the new collective agreement is ratified.

St John said its offer addresses issues raised by the union, and it hopes the two sides can work better together in the future.

"The new offer addresses issues raised by First Union after a previous offer, agreed with the other unions, was rejected by First Union," it said.

"This includes additional increases in pay and improved leave provisions."

St John said it has established a Joint Consultative Forum with representation from all unions to focus on issues dealt with by St John and its staff.

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