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Tough action by emergency dispatchers in Montreal has resulted in an agreement to hire additional staff.

For the past year, members of Local 3642 have been calling for an increased number of dispatchers to ensure adequate coverage. But over the summer months, the situation had gone from bad to worse. With some staff on leave and others on vacation, those remaining were forced to work long hours of overtime and shifts were not adequately covered.

To press their demands for action, the local threatened a ban on overtime hours, warning that the staffing shortage was affecting service quality.

Our work requires a rapid response and a great deal of concentration. Were dealing with emergencies, said Gilles Tardif, president of the local. The life and safety of the public depends on our effectiveness.

Faced with the threat of job action, the employer, Urgences Sant,0020agreed to speed up the hiring of ten new staff, increasing the number of dispatchers from 28 to 38.