Montreal emergency service workers go on strike for 36 hours

Montreal emergency services support workers who maintain Urgences-Santé ambulances and medical equipment will go on strike for 36 hours starting Monday at midnight. The action will focus on administrative tasks and is unlikely to affect the city’s emergency services, following a ruling by the Administrative Labor Tribunal (TAT) on Saturday that workers do not interfere with essential tasks.

The union representing support staff says it hope the action will put pressure on their employer to reach a collective agreement that will attract and retain more workers in the field.

They have been without a collective agreement since March 2020 and have been bleeding from support staff. By January, 45 out of 120 workers – mostly ambulance maintenance staff – had quit their jobs.

Union officials say employers have turned to the private sector and paid more to outsource work instead of improving conditions for those already hired.

Negotiations with Urgences-Santé are at a standstill and no meeting date is scheduled before September.

According to their union mandate, emergency support staff could strike for up to 10 days.

Meanwhile, the union for Urgences-Santé paramedics used a similar pressure tactic last week on the shortage of labor in their sector which, according to them, causes an overload of work.

Many paramedics are unable to take a lunch break at the scheduled time due to a lack of staff, according to union representatives.

The union also called for mandatory overtime and said voluntary overtime should be paid at double the rate.

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