Triple zero call takers vote for industrial action

Triple zero call takers in Victoria have voted to take industrial action but insist emergency responses will not be affected.

From Monday, December 18, workers will wear union uniforms, stop reporting or recording false alarm codes and relay union messages over radio.

They say they will also undertake work stoppages that do not affect emergency responses in addition to other actions.

They are pushing for better staffing, access to accrued leave, improved training, more pay based on experience and raising the base salary for trainees which is currently $48,000 per year.

Negotiations with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), soon to be known as Triple Zero Victoria, started in February.

Earlier this year, parliament passed legislation to rebrand the organisation and for it to be taken under government control following a damning report that highlighted deadly failures.

The United Firefighters Union, Victorian Ambulance Union, Communications Workers Union and United Workers Union are representing workers during negotiations.

Victorian Ambulance Union Secretary Danny Hill said it was an "insult" that emergency workers are paid $48,000.

"If Triple Zero Victoria does not properly value their staff as emergency workers and pay them accordingly, they will have the same problems as ESTA," he said.

Communications Workers Union Secretary Sue Riley hit out at what she described as understaffing.

"Our members can’t get their leave approved even 18 months in advance," she said.

An ESTA spokesperson said the organisation is committed to ensuring its workforce is well supported and appropriately resourced.

"The safety of Victorians remains our first priority," they said.

"ESTA will work with unions and our emergency service partners to ensure emergency services to the community are not affected."

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