Calgary’s paramedics could be on strike as early as this weekend.
About 400 EMS workers are voting this week to decide if they will take job action after the city refused their request for a 30-per-cent pay raise over three years.
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City spokeswoman Vickie Megrath said Calgary EMS employees are currently the highest paid in Alberta and the second-highest paid in Western Canada.
“We hope our employees don’t go on strike, but the city does have contingency plans in place in case of a strike,” Megrath said yesterday. “We’ve made what we feel is a fair and reasonable offer.”
The union is asking for a 30-per-cent wage increase over three years and the city is offering a 12-per-cent increase plus shift differential and a supplemental pension plan.
“We know we can’t replace our 425 paramedics but we do have some plans in place to provide service to Calgarians in the event of medical emergency,” said Megrath.
She would not elaborate on what those contingency plans are.
Negotiations broke off between the union and the city last month. Megrath said the city has always been open to going back to the table, but the union decided to take a strike vote.
Bruce Robb, president of the paramedics union, couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.