TorontoA meeting between paramedics and the Minister of Labour has yielded only minor changes to Bill 58. The changes amount to nothing more than cosmetic concessions by the minister to amend the Bill, legislation that, if passed, will take away the right of ambulance workers to strike and force them into a biased arbitration process.
The minister indicated small changes would be made to the legislation. But the changes amount to nothing more than cosmetic alterations. The detrimental pieces of this Bill, that will give this government broad powers over the collective bargaining and arbitration processes, are still being kept in and thats just not acceptable, said Sid Ryan, the Ontario President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) the union that represents more than half of the ambulance workers in the province.
On Monday, CUPE released a legal analysis of the legislation that, in addition to taking away the right to strike for thousands of ambulance workers and other municipal workers province-wide, will also give the Labour minister sweeping powers, including the power to appoint any arbitrator he deems fit and to dictate the form the arbitration will take.
The Bill has already passed second reading and is now at clause-by-clause committee hearings.
CUPE Paramedics, along with CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan, will attend the hearings at 3:30 p.m. today in Room 151 (Queens Park).
For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications