Parameds to start job action Monday, Jan. 11 at 3 p.m. - #3

Bargaining bulletin

No pickets in first week

At 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8, mediator Brian Foley adjourned the second round of mediated talks between the paramedical professional bargaining association and the Health Employers Association of B.C. with no further talks scheduled. Professional paramedical bargaining association spokesman Rick Lampshire immediately announced a 72-hour strike notice to start job action on Monday, Jan. 11 at 3 p.m.

The first day of the job action - Monday - there will be an overtime ban only. Tuesday will see paramedical rehab workers off the job. Wednesday psychologists, pharmacists, drug and alcohol workers and social workers will be off. Thursday paramedical diagnostic workers in the imaging labs will not report to work. The fourth day - Friday - paramedical lab workers will be affected. And on the weekend, day five and six, all non-essential workers will be off the job.

The following worksites have been excluded from the job action: Women's and Children, Sunnyhill, the Canadian Blood Agency, B.C. Cancer Agencies, Gold River, 100 Mile District Hospital and child development centres.

"At the end of the day there were still concessions on the table," said Lampshire. "We will not accept this because, in effect, we would be worse off than before."

The employer's demand on classification and hours of work were two concessions that they would not withdraw. The issue of on-call was not addressed at all during this round of mediation.

"Contract rollbacks certainly should have been off the table before now," said HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "It is regrettable that the employer missed an opportunity to come to an equitable agreement."

The job action described above will involve paramedical members only. However, HEU members should be alert to the possibility of lock-outs. There may be isolated HEU workers who are told to stay home during a walkout that involves their HSA co-workers. This is an illegal lockout and if this happens to you, you should notify your steward immediately.

HEU members should be prepared for possible picket action on Monday, Jan. 18 or Tuesday, Jan. 19 if the bargaining association decides that the initial job action days have not changed the employer's position. HSA will notify HEU about affected job sites ahead of time, and HEU will inform its locals accordingly.

Allnutt reiterated the need for strong union solidarity. "The employer has and will try every trick in the book to divide us, and it is important that we wield our strongest weapon right now - our strong labour solidarity," he said.