$200 per week: Paramedics on strike over pay

Paramedics in NSW will be on strike on Thursday.

·2-min read
A composite image of Australian money and a NSW ambulance with writing on the side in support of the paramedic strike.
Paramedics in NSW will be on strike from 6:00am AEST on Thursday, 18 May. (Source: Getty / AAP)

Paramedics in NSW will launch a 24-hour strike from 6:00am AEST on Thursday, May 18, as workers demand faster action on the NSW government’s promise to scrap the wages cap.

A first-year paramedic in Sydney makes around $59,557 per year after tax, or $4,963 per month. Here’s the average spend for a single person living in the city:

  • Rent: $$2,737 per month

  • Groceries: $620 per month

  • Electricity: $104 per month

  • Gas: $60 per month

  • Internet: $71 per month

  • Water: $67 per month

  • Transport: $177 per month

Based on the above averages that would leave a single, first-year paramedic with around $200 per week.

And while that may seem like a fair amount of money, when you think about subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify, new clothes, going out with friends, saving for a holiday, etc, you can see how maybe $200 isn’t going to cut it.

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said workers expected quicker action from the government.

“The NSW government had the option to remove the wages cap by changing the ministerial regulation the day after the election; it chose not to,” he said.

“And every day since, we have wondered when we will see action.”

The union is also calling for reforms and “professionalised pay” rises, which it said were important in the cost-of-living crisis.

“The weekly rent for a typical Sydney home has climbed 25 per cent in the last year. Mortgage interest rates have skyrocketed,” Hayes said.

“Healthcare workers did not create this crisis but we are being asked to pay the price.”

Who will the strike affect?

The strike will involve both urgent (red) and non-urgent (green) ambulance fleets.

From 6:00am on Thursday until 6:00am on Friday, May 19,patient-transport officers and paramedics will refuse to transfer discharged patients from hospitals to homes and residential or aged-care facilities.

Patients under end-of-life and dialysis care will not be affected.

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