Essential service status limiting strike’s visibility: Union

Without picket lines and the ability to refuse to perform a service, itdoesn’t look like British Columbia’s paramedics are on strike.

Without picket lines and the ability to refuse to perform a service, it doesn’t look like British Columbia’s paramedics are on strike.

“We have yet to inconvenience the public as with municipal and teacher strikes,” said B.J. Chute, with CUPE 873. “Most people don’t wake up in the morning and think they’ll need an ambulance.”

It definitely hasn’t generated the same headlines as the garbage strike in Toronto, but Chute said the issue is a hot topic in smaller communities, where they’re paid $2 an hour to be on call.

On April 1, British Columbia’s roughly 3,500 paramedics went on strike to demand, among other things, better equipment and training, more ambulances and salaries comparable to those of firefighters and police.

The paramedics are considered an essential service and must still answer calls and work overtime.

Chute said the province has shown no inclination in coming to the bargaining table, and because they are obliged to work, they are essentially on a symbolic strike.

 
 
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