BELLEVILLE, Ont. – Paramedics in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), recently voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action if a fair settlement is not reached with their employer. The paramedics have a legal strike or lockout deadline of February 9th, at 12:01 am.
“The employer wants to pursue a two-tier workforce by offering specialized training to a select group of employees,” said Greg Burkitt, CUPE national representative. “Our strike vote clearly shows that our members are united and will not fall for management’s divide and conquer tactics.” The paramedics will begin mediation talks with management on February 7th.
CUPE 1842 represents 125 paramedics, who provide emergency ambulance services in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, serving the communities of Belleville, Bancroft, Quinte West, Madoc, Picton and Tweed. Their last contract expired on December 31, 2004. Other outstanding issues include wages and benefits. As required by the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, both parties have negotiated an essential services agreement, in the event of a strike or lockout.
“Training and upgrading of skills should be offered to all the counties’ paramedics – management can’t pick and choose who gets advancement training and who gets left behind,” said Burkitt. “It’s time for this employer to come to the table with an open attitude and address our issues to prevent a strike.”
For further information contact:
Greg Burkitt, CUPE national representative
James Chai, CUPE communications