Monday, November 02, 2009

Paramedics to be legislated back to the job

The seven month stand off that has seen occasional ambulance shortages across the province is about to come to an end, this after introduction by the Liberal Government today of a bill to impose a settlement in the long running dispute.

The paramedics who could not exercise a full scale walkout under the provisions of the essential services act, instead offered up a refusal of overtime and other methods to show their displeasure at the pace of negotiations and the rather minuscule offerings of the provincial government, the last offer described as "repugnant" and "a piece of crap" by the union's negotiating team.

For its part the Government today cited the H1N1 pandemic outbreak and the upcoming winter and holiday seasons as the main determining factor to enforce a settlement.

The fact that the 2010 Olympics are on the horizon, never made it into the press release, but one suspects that the event was pretty high on the agenda for getting the health care providers back on the job full time.

For many political observers of the Legislature, it was only a matter of time before the Government made the move to back to work legislation with a forced contract, with one month before the end of this session of the Legislature, the clock was clearly ticking on negotiations that hadn't made much progress.

The Government will return to the template from September (the one less than universally hailed by union officials) as the final offer settlement document.

The Ambulance Service Collective Agreement Act will last for one year and The one-year deal is retroactive to April 1, 2009, and includes a competitive compensation increase of three per cent, which brings it in line with wage increases for other public sector workers in 2009.

Vancouver Sun-- B.C. begins imposing contract on striking paramedics
Vancouver Sun-- Michael Smyth Opinion: Striking B.C. ambulance attendants blew it by not taking spring offer
BC Local News-- Paramedics strike ended as flu spreads
CBC News-- Contract imposed on B.C. paramedics
Canadian Press-- B.C. brings in legislation to end seven-month strike by ambulance paramedics
Victoria Times colonist-- Les Leyne Opinion: Paramedic strike’s forced end inevitable

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