BURNABY – A new poll shows solid support for B.C.’s ambulance paramedics in their demands to improve ambulance service in B.C. and negotiate a collective agreement.
When the provincial government passed Bill 21 “back to work” legislation on Nov. 7, the 3,500 ambulance paramedics had been on strike for seven months, but were already working under Essential Services orders. By a margin of more than 2-1, British Columbians said that the Government’s legislation was not justified.
According to the Strategic Communications poll, an almost 3-1 margin of British Columbians called the legislation unnecessary.
According to the poll commissioned by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, 70-80 per cent of British Columbians are aware of the dispute and most said they didn’t think the government was justified in imposing a contract on our ambulance paramedics (with Bill 21).
More than 75 per cent of British Columbians say that ambulance paramedics should have their contract determined by an independent third-party arbitration process similar to the one already in place for B.C.’s firefighters and police.
Despite repeated requests by CUPE 873 Ambulance Paramedics of BC to use that mechanism for paramedics, the provincial government has refused.
Poll respondents expressed strong concerns about what they said was unjustified political interference in the collective bargaining process by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC).
A memo from VANOC to the government demanded an end to the legal strike by paramedics in order to ensure the 2010 Winter Games.
The results are compiled from a Strategic Communications telephone poll conducted November 16-18, 2009. Interviews were conducted with 406 adult BC residents selected by the random-household sampling method. The overall results are considered accurate to within ±4.9%, 19-times-in-20, of what they would have been had the entire British Columbia adult population been polled. The margin of error will be larger for sub-groups of the survey population. This data was statistically weighted to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual British Columbia population.
Contact: David Smith, Strategic Communications Media Contact: 604.681.3030 ext. 32
Murray Bush, CUPE National Communications Representative: 778.554.223