Olympics reason for back-to-work legislation: union
The union representing B.C. ambulance paramedics says it has information showing the Olympics are the real reason the provincial government has introduced legislation to end a seven-month strike by the workers.
CUPE points to a memo from Vancouver Games medical director Dr. Mike Wilkinson to Ambulance Service CEO Lee Doney and other government officials.
The union says the memo asks for a guarantee from the government that all ambulance services will be available during the Games and says the guarantee could come through either a settlement of the strike or a legislated solution.
CUPE B.C. president Barry O'Neill says it's obvious the memo is at the heart of the reason for the legislation, which would impose a three per cent wage increase in a one-year contract.
When Health Minister Kevin Falcon introduced the legislation on Monday, he didn't mention the Olympics, but said the strike had dragged on too long and was putting people's health at risk with the approach of winter and in the face of the H1N1 virus.
O'Neill says blaming the H1N1 pandemic when paramedics have been calling on the government to address the issue for more than a year is despicable, and he accuses the government of having a "shameful disregard" for the workers.