OTTAWA – The Canadian Labour Congress has voiced “increasing concern” over the deterioration of the B.C. ambulance service and the lack of a settlement in the paramedics’ dispute. CLC president Ken Georgetti said the CLC, which represents more than three million Canadian workers, hopes the provincial government will come to its senses and voluntarily bargain a new collective agreement with CUPE 873.
Georgetti wrote to CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill saying he “cannot imagine a government allowing such a dispute to go on for so long, particularly at this time when your Premier will be welcoming the world to B.C. for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. "
Georgetti goes on to say that he is “well aware of the hard work you and others have done to try and get this dispute resolved, unfortunately without much success. Of course you know you have the full support of the Canadian Labour Congress and its affiliates across the country. We will be showing that support more publicly over the coming weeks.”
Georgetti called Bill 21, the provincial legislation that forced B.C.’s 3,500 paramedics to end their strike in the middle of collective bargaining,“outrageous.”
The CLC president pledged to spread the word internationally and to support CUPE 873 members in their struggle. On reports that scabs are being considered to do the work of CUPE 873 members during the Olympics, Georgetti said “clearly, bringing in scabs to perform the work of paramedics would be a very serious action…it would of course create a significant reaction from the labour movement in BC, across Canada, and as well from our International partners.”