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Victoria No uniforms, no paperwork, no charges for ambulances and general administrative non-conformity are what BCs ambulance paramedics initial plan of action will include should they be forced to take strike action following the issue of 72 hours notice yesterday (July 25, 2000).

BC Ambulance Paramedics, members of CUPE Local 873, served notice when administrators engaged in bad faith bargaining practices by imposing new rules and regulations not bargained or agreed to by the union. The new actions include adding new supervisory classifications at a time when the shortage of trained paramedics is critical. They are also beginning the process of shutting down ambulance stations in the Victoria area, only to replace them with a central ambulance depot.

According to John Strohmaier, the ambulance paramedics consider managements current actions to be bargaining in bad faith. They have already launched a bad faith bargaining complaint with the BC Labour Relations Board. However Strohmaier also emphasizes that paramedics actions will be strictly aimed at disrupting management and not adding any greater stress to British Columbians who depend on the services currently offered.

Although we are outraged that it will take a strike to ensure British Columbians receive a timely emergency medical response by paramedics who are appropriately trained, the public will not bear the brunt of inept administrators actions, said Strohmaier. Emergency Ambulance Services aimed at bringing comfort and security to the public will not be touched by our actions. But other operations will be affected.

The BC Ambulance Paramedics have been in negotiations for seven months. The main issues in the current round of bargaining are; an end to outdated downsizing philosophies, improved training programs, improved response times, reduction in the hours of work, on-call compensation and a reduction in workloads. In addition, the paramedics are looking for a resolution to pay scales that leave many working hundreds of hours per year without being paid for those hours.


John Strohmaier, (604) 728-2742

Louise Leclair (604 454-4711