© Guardian photo
Island EMS ambulance
Talks have broken down between Island EMS and its paramedics, says the union that represents the more than 100 Island paramedics.
Island paramedics have been without a contract now for 10 months.
Conciliation talks between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3324 and Island EMS broke down on Tuesday.
Paramedics do not have a right to strike so they will now move to interest arbitration.
Bill McKinnon, national representative for CUPE, said P.E.I. paramedics make about 10 to 15 per cent less than their Nova Scotia counterparts. He added that unlike other health-care workers, paramedics also do not receive premiums for working evening, night or weekend shifts.
Medavie Blue Cross operates the ambulance service in both P.E.I. and Nova Scotia.
“One of the key non-monetary areas that remain outstanding relates to our casual members,” said McKinnon. “Casual employees, who make up almost one-third of our membership, have no protection against unjust discipline and other basic rights and that needs to change.”
Interest arbitration means once a decision is made it is binding on all sides.