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VANCOUVER A tentative agreement has been reached between the government and the striking Ambulance Paramedics of B.C., ensuring a more stable and improved ambulance service for all British Columbians.

We have accomplished some important goals with this agreement, said CUPE Local 873 president John Strohmaier. We revealed many flaws in the service during our strike and these can now be addressed in the interest of public safety.

Everyone will benefit from this new agreement, Strohmaier added. Our members will get a long-deserved wage increase. Equally important, paramedics will finally be paid for the actual number of hours they work.

With this agreement, the paramedics will make real gains in securing a continuing medical education program. This was a sticking point during negotiations because they felt the current reclassification system was designed to intimidate rather than educate.

The paramedics launched a Fighting for Life provincial tour to stress the education issue. The tour also highlighted the continued low level of funding, showing how it undermined a world-class ambulance service.

The unions provincial executive has recommended acceptance of the tentative agreement. Members will begin a ratification vote on the five-year deal this weekend.

CUPE Local 873 represents about 3,500 ambulance workers. Their strike began in August 2000.


Contact: John Strohmaier, (604) 728-2741 (cell) or (604) 273-5722 (office).