22 C
Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Paramedic pay

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Sue McLeod, Myocum 

I was saddened by the plight of our paramedics and their union’s frustrated attempts to seek a pay rise from NSW’s IRC, (Echo, 31/3), especially given the stresses and dangers of this essential service.

Along with other workers in aged care, preschools, hospitality, retail, agriculture, and the gig economy, our state and federal conservative governments have continued to stifle adequate wage increases, largely contributing to low domestic spending.

Last year’s increase in the minimum wage did nothing to increase disposable income. Little has been done to combat wage theft.

The casualisation of our workforce continues to grow, offering little financial security for many families and a decent retirement age for lower-income workers. Add the effects of COVID-19 within our economy and the future looks bleak for those who have lost their jobs.

Conservative governments argue that wage rises would threaten jobs, yet we didn’t see any increase in positions when penalty rates were denied for hospitality workers. Trickle-down economics is a farce.

I grew up in a much fairer, more equitable society with access to tertiary training and education, permanent job opportunities, and lower house prices. Despite my working-class background, I gained a scholarship that allowed me to enter a career backed by an active union and equal gender rights. Industry superannuation allowed me to retire at a decent age. I was a lucky post-WWII baby boomer!

Under neoliberal policies, our once fairer, egalitarian society has declined, with fewer opportunities, unless your parents are wealthy. This would be a contributing factor to the rise of domestic violence.

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