St John workers were left "heartbroken" and "irate" after reading their employer was going to use some of its $21m to recover money from recent industrial action.

And the payment appears to have made the negotiation process even more complicated for St John as the three unions involved disagree on whether to walk out on the job.

However, all were upset at news in an internal newsletter that one of the organisation's "urgent needs" was to pay itself back for $2m in lost revenue from this year's strike action.

The Government this week announced $21 million would be paid out