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Paramedics in Edmonton have reached a tentative settlement after ending an illegal strike and returning to the bargaining table earlier this week.

The 260 members of CUPE Local 3197 went out on strike June 1, after the province declared an emergency in effect making any strike illegal.

Angry at what they saw as collaboration between the City of Edmonton and the provincial government to set up a sham negotiations process, the local decided to defy the government.

By removing our right to strike, the provincial government was essentially removing all incentive for the City of Edmonton to bargain in good faith, said local president Randy Littlechild.

The employer immediately applied to the courts for a back to work order and to find the local in contempt, but just before the court hearing on June 3 the city and the local agreed to return to the bargaining table.

The issues in dispute include wage parity with other protective services, increased staffing and service levels, and improved benefits.

Probably our biggest concern has to do with workload, said Littlechild. The city is using a scheduling system that is stretching our people to the breaking point. We feel strongly that there are not enough ambulances or staff to meet the needs of a large and growing city like Edmonton.