The B.C. government says strike action by ambulance paramedics is illegal and the province is seeking a B.C. Supreme Court order to force the workers to obey essential service rules.

A health official says the B.C. Ambulance Service has been scrambling to find enough staff to keep ambulances running in some areas after paramedics, who went on strike April 1, began booking off or calling in sick.

Lee Doney, the acting CEO of the Emergency and Health Services Commission, says the staffing shortages are a clear breach of the essential services order.

He says he's heard reports of bullying, harassment and intimidation of employees by representatives of the union, CUPE Local 873.

The ambulance service is asking the Labour Relations Board to file the essential services order with the court to ensure that workers show up for their shifts.

Doney says filing the papers in court makes the order enforceable in law, and further breaches can be considered as contempt of court.