Peterborough – The Peterborough community’s 75 paramedics who save lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week, say it’s time that the important work they do be recognized and compensated fairly.
“Like firefighters we save lives too. We are highly skilled and knowledgeable. We work grueling shifts because our area’s emergency services are chronically understaffed and there is an element of risk to our jobs.
“Yet, we are treated like poor relations earning on average $15,000 less than Peterborough firefighters. It’s not fair. And we believe the residents of Peterborough recognize the quality work we do and will support us in our fight to gain respect and wage parity with other emergency services,” says George Barron, who has 15 years experience and is one of only eight advanced life saving paramedics working locally.
Barron is the president of Local 4911 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union that represents the majority of the province’s 5000 paramedics. The paramedics are in the middle of heated contract negotiations with Peterborough County Emergency Services. Wages, benefits and shift scheduling are key factors in the negotiations.
On Monday, March 18 at 12 noon, the paramedics will hold a media conference at 294 Aylmer St. (Steelworkers’ Hall). They want to tell the community that, local emergency services are understaffed because low wages and the demanding nature of paramedic duties are keeping young talented people from choosing the field as a profession.
“The county has admitted they have a major problem recruiting new staff. They have also indicated, they intended to increase wages in this next contract as a way to attract paramedics to our community. It’s time the county now put the dollars where their rhetoric is. The residents of Peterborough deserve an adequately staffed emergency service,” says Barron.
Peterborough’s paramedics now earn 33 per cent less than area firefighters whose salary is approximately $60,000 a year.
For more information please contact:
George Barron, President, Local 4911
Mark Cameron, Local 4911 Communications
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications