In an unexpected and unprecedented move, the PEI government introduced amendments to the Labour Act to take away the right to strike of the paramedics.
“We were at the bargaining table when we got word that amendments were coming down at the Legislature to include paramedics and emergency dispatchers to the list of essential services providers”, said Bill McKinnon, CUPE coordinator for the Island paramedics.
“This legislation is taking away our right to free collective bargaining and also changing the landscape at the bargaining table, eight days into negotiations. Under these changes, binding arbitration will replace our right to strike.”
The Union also criticized the Government for its lack of respect for the paramedics. “This decision was made without any consultation”, concluded McKinnon.
The CUPE Local 3324 collective agreement expired in September 2009.