VANCOUVER— BC Ambulance Paramedics, CUPE 873, issued strike notice on the weekend, but continue in talks today in an attempt to achieve a negotiated agreement and avert job action. The union will be in legal strike position as of Wednesday April 1.
The ambulance paramedics have received a report prepared for the Minister of Labour, assessing the likelihood of the parties reaching an agreement before the beginning of the election period when the BC Legislature is dissolved. That report, issued Sunday, concludes that there is little chance of the parties reaching agreement.
CUPE 873 president John Strohmaier is concerned that the B.C. government is preparing to impose a collective agreement on the union through legislation.
Strohmaier says that this round of bargaining is focused on the goal of catching up with other emergency service professionals, including Vancouver Police officers. “As BC Paramedics wages have fallen behind other emergency services in the province, the system now faces difficulties recruiting and retaining these valued professionals,” says Strohmaier.
The union has proposed a seven-year agreement which would allow wage parity to be phased in.
Last month the Ambulance Paramedics voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action to back their demand for wage parity with other emergency service professionals.
In the event of job action, the B.C. Ambulance Service will continue to operate under essential service levels.
More information is available at www.saveourparamedics.com and www.paramedicsofbc.com