Uncertainty over St John job cuts

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by Chris Tobin

It is uncertain if St John job losses will occur in South Canterbury due to Covid-19 financial pressures.

St John has announced 100 jobs around the country would be cut, although losses within the frontline ambulance service would be minimised.

In May three fulltime new ambulance officers started work in Waimate as part of St John’s plan to introduce double crewing.

St John chief executive Peter Bradley said the rollout of the double crewing project for which St John received targeted funding over four years would still continue.

“The project will be completed by June 2021.”

Mr Bradley said St John faced significant financial challenges in the July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021 year, requiring up to $30million of cost savings to offset the organisation’s increasingly large deficit.

“Our long-standing funding issues have been well documented and, combined with the financial impact of Covid-19, we are now forced to undergo a significant programme of cost reductions.”

He said the cost savings would be throughout the organisation.

“We are doing everything we can to minimise job losses and impact to our patients and customers.”

He said St John would look to make changes to its executive team .

Other cost savings included removing personal-use cars and, where possible, redirecting them to frontline use, stopping face-to-face frontline clinical education training for one year, freezing pay increases for those in senior roles (excluding those on a collective contract) and applying organisational pay restraint, scaling back on non-critical project delivery, significantly reducing travel and accommodation by up to 65% and reducing building lease costs while combining some workplaces.

“We are doing everything possible to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies. Staff have been obligated to take annual leave, job vacancies are being held open and we are reducing casual and contract roles.

“We are having constructive discussions with our staff as we work to protect St John’s future and retain the jobs that remain.”