Ambulance Victoria Staffers Are Challenging Workplace COVID Vax Mandates

A number of Ambulance Victoria staff say they are being coerced into COVID-19 vaccinations or risk being sacked under workplace policies.

More than two dozen Ambulance Victoria staff members have filed for a Fair Work Commission challenge, arguing on the grounds that they have been denied procedural fairness.

The workplace policy they are disputing allows the employer to stand down any staff members who have not received their first or second dose of the vaccine. The employees were required to show cause by November 24th as to why they had not yet complied with the vaccination, and lawyers of the staff state that so far, at least 29 staffers have been stood down - or “coerced into compliance” in order to keep their employment.

One of the paramedics who is filing for the commission challenge, stated that “We were called heroes last year, this year we’re accused of serious misconduct and our employment is terminated.” further iterating that she believes there has been a serious overstep by her employer, as the Chief Health Officer’s directives on vaccine mandates do not require all unvaccinated employers to comply or have their employment terminated.

"Staff that have been working from home for the last 18 months are now fired because AV state they must be able to enter an AV workplace premises," she said. "This goes beyond the CHO's directions." However, the CHO of Victoria confirmed that emergency service workers, which includes paramedics, are to be vaccinated in order to continue working. Ms Davis said staff had been degraded or mocked when they sought support for their position.

The lawyers aiding the group in their case have said they are not anti-vaccination and are medically informed. "Several members of the group felt coerced into having a first dose and are prepared to get a second dose but want to wait until a proven safe vaccine becomes available such as NOVAVAX and COVAX," the statements said. Further adding that some of the staff members have refused to be vaccinated due to medical or religious grounds and had offered to abide by strict PPE, screening occupancy limits and other means to ensure safety.

An application will be heard by Fair Work Commission deputy president Amanda Mansini on Tuesday afternoon.