September 09, 2010 at 3:30 PM
Paramedics say new law strips their rights
Published: September 09, 2010 11:32 a.m.
Last modified: September 09, 2010 11:38 a.m.
VANCOUVER - The B.C. ambulance paramedics union has gone to the Labour Relations Board to challenge legislation it claims will strip away the rights of its 3,500 members.
Under the legislation, the paramedics' contract will be transferred from the Emergency Health Services Commission to the Provincial Health Services Authority —a move aimed at integrating paramedics more closely into the health system.
But paramedics union president John Strohamier says once the old collective agreement is transferred the union will lose all the benefits contained in the previous deal without any bargaining.
He says the benefits, including pensions, are being swept away with the stroke of a pen.
The government brought in the legislation in April, saying it will better tie the ambulance service to the health system, especially in rural and remote areas, while enhancing the role of paramedics.
The move came after the government took action ahead of the Vancouver Olympics to force an end to a strike by paramedics and impose a one-year contract. (CHNL)