#P13 Paramedical professionals walk out to protest threat of legislation

Bargaining bulletin

Today paramedical professionals walked off the job in a province-wide protest against the Liberal government’s plan to legislate an end to paramedical professionals’ and nurses’ job actions.

“Recalling the legislature to restrict certain forms of job action would be an unfortunate move for this new government to make,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “We need a positive environment where all parties can work together to improve and strengthen our public health care system. The government has a major role in fostering such a climate and regressive legislation certainly won’t do that.”

Allnutt says that health care workers and their unions consider any decision to take job action very seriously and only undertake actions when other attempts to reach agreement have failed.

Negotiators for the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association made it clear in meetings with the new Minister of Health and Minister of Labour that a negotiated agreement is a priority for the unions. But without serious offers from the employer, paramedical professionals had no choice but to begin limited, restrained job action.

“The paramedical professionals’ job action was responsible and measured, and negotiations were not cut off. This move is heavy-handed and over the top — way out of line when negotiations are clearly still an option,” says Allnutt. “We encourage the government to carefully consider the long-term impact that legislation undermining collective bargaining would have on the future of health care in B.C.”

The Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association represents 14,000 health science professionals in the Health Sciences Association, Canadian Union of Public Employees, B.C. Government and Services Employees’ Union, Professional Employees’ Association, and the Hospital Employees’ Union.