Quebec ambulance technicians could strike during holiday season

The union representing 2,500 ambulance technicians and paramedics in Quebec has filed a strike notice for Dec. 24.

The CSN Labour Federation reached a tentative deal with the provincial government in July, but 71 per cent of workers voted against it in October.

Ambulance technicians have been without a contract since 2010.

The works want a better pension plan and benefits along with a revised salary scale.

The union said workers would set up picket lines, but the impact of a strike will be mostly administrative. Union spokesman Yvon Bonesso said they would refuse to fill out paperwork or stop training interns.

Bonesso said those measures are the only way to get their message across to the government because they are compelled by law to fulfill their duties as an emergency service.

"The population has nothing to fear," said Bonesso. "We'll be covering 100 per cent of the calls. Whether it's emergency calls or between hospital calls, they'll all be covered."

Quebec Health Minister Réjean Hébert said he is satisfied with the deal that was reached with the union last summer and he is not interested in reopening it.

CSN represents 60 per cent of the province's ambulance technicians while the Quebec Workers Federation and independent unions represent the remainder of the workers.

Workers unionized with CSN work mostly in Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, the Laurentians and the North Shore.

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