Ambulance Victoria recently announced changes to meal break provisions for on road staff. We are concerned these changes may leave paramedics unable to properly rest during their breaks or able to eat nutritious food. We are hearing from our members that consultation was not adequate, and are receiving a number of questions about the changes.
In response to these changes, we wrote to James Davis, the Acting Lead, Workplace Relations at Ambulance Victoria, this week, to raise the concerns of members with him.
Re: PROPOSED CHANGES TO MEAL BREAKS
Our members have contacted us to raise concerns about Ambulance Victoria directing staff to undertake meal breaks at hospital. The AEAV is concerned with the lack of genuine consultation around this issue, with limited capacity for staff to raise issues about the impact of this decision.
Ambulance Victoria is required, in accordance with section 35 (1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, to consult with staff that are directly affected as a result of “making decisions about the adequacy of facilities for the welfare of employees of the employer”.
Concerns have been raised with us around the following issues:
- Lack of access to facilities
- Lack of access to food storage facilities in Ambulances
- Exposure to public scrutiny when taking a meal break in a hospital
- Lack of access to a private space where paramedics can get a break from work
We would appreciate if you could share with us copies of the risk assessments undertaken around this decision, including the assessments of the psychological hazards of having to take a break whilst being in uniform and exposed to the public.
In addition, we request you advise how Ambulance Victoria is currently consulting with its workforce on this issue in line with the consultation requirements in the Ambulance Victoria Enterprise Agreement 2020.
We respectfully request a response to this correspondence by close of business on Tuesday 18 May 2021.
Secretary, Ambulance Employees Australia – Victoria (AEAV)