A B.C. court has ordered striking ambulance paramedics in the province to abandon plans to stop working overtime as part of a prolonged labour dispute.

The Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. told its members that, beginning this weekend, they should only work their regularly scheduled shifts.

As a result, the number of ambulances on duty was down 30 per cent in the Lower Mainland -- and for several hours on Friday night, Ambulances in Hope, Agassiz and Whistler were unavailable.

The union says the move was designed to counter claims by the B.C. Ambulance Service that there are no staffing shortages.

On Sunday, a B.C. Supreme Court Judge ruled that the weekend action violates essential-services legislation, and must stop immediately.

Judge Mary Humphries says the union and its members must maintain normal and historical availability for shifts.

"Hopefully paramedics will hear the court and get back to work," B.C. Ambulance Service negotiator Lee Doney said Sunday afternoon.

The paramedics have been on strike since April to back demands for higher wages, although provincial legislation has prevented them from walking off the job.

The union responded to the ruling on Sunday evening in a written statement rescinding its previous order to members.

"The Union directs and instructs its members to obey the Orders of the Court," it read. "And to immediately resume their normal and historical availability for shifts."

It will take time for the system to return to normal, so the B.C. Ambulance Service is still asking people to only call an ambulance in the event of an emergency.

"Service was a struggle this morning," Doney said. "It wasn't as bad as it was Saturday. It was still a struggle to get ambulances on the street."

With files from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward and The Canadian Press