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Province quashes looming paramedic strike

<p>The provincial government has declared a public emergency to stop Calgary paramedics from hitting the picket line.</p>




“Be assured that if someone is in need of an ambulance in Calgary, they’ll call and there will be someone available.”



The provincial government has declared a public emergency to stop Calgary paramedics from hitting the picket line.





Employment Minister Iris Evans said the action would stop a strike or lockout and a tribunal will work on putting an end to the dispute, between EMS workers and the city, with a binding settlement.





The union issued the City of Calgary with 72-hour strike notice on Monday. The union wants a 30-per-cent pay increase over three years, while the city is offering 12 per cent over the same time period.





Lieutenant Governor Norman Kwong is expected to sign the emergency order tomorrow morning. After that, the tribunal will be put in place.





Premier Ed Stelmach said Calgary ambulances would be in service by tomorrow.





“Be assured that if someone is in need of an ambulance in Calgary, they’ll call and there will be someone available. We’re going to keep that promise,” said Stelmach told Metro in Edmonton yesterday.





Bruce Robb, EMS union boss, told Metro Calgary yesterday that until he sees the emergency order in writing, the union would be planning for a strike.





“We have to wait until we receive the pieces of paper. Until then it’s like saying the cheque is in the mail. We have to carry on like it’s not here yet,” Robb said.





“The government has said this is what they’re leaning toward doing. We had to file our strike notice and they had to take the action they thought was appropriate in response.”



 
 
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