EMC wins contract dispute with N.S. paramedics

An arbitrator has sided against the paramedics' union on a new collective agreement for Nova Scotia's 800 paramedics.

Arbitrator sides with employer in long-running dispute

Paramedics in Nova Scotia will get a 10.6 per cent wage increase over 55 months. (CBC)

An arbitrator has sided against the paramedics' union on a new collective agreement for Nova Scotia's 800 paramedics.

Retired Judge J.A. MacLellan was presented with the final offers from both sides and chose the one from Emergency Medical Care, the employer.

It’s not the decision the union wanted, but the imposed collective agreement is worth $23 million more in benefits.

The former New Democratic government pushed settlement of the long-running paramedics' contract dispute onto an arbitrator in July, when it convened the legislature for one day to pass laws averting a strike.

Pension plan 'huge benefit'

The arbitrator selected the employer's final offer of a 10.6 per cent wage increase over 55 months. The deal expires in October 2015.

The paramedics had already won a defined benefits pension plan. It was imposed, Emergency Medical Care said, at the direction of the New Democratic government during negotiations this spring.

That factored into the decision. MacLellan wrote the pension plan "was a huge benefit to be enjoyed by the union membership."

"All of this comes with a tremendous cost that has to be considered," he said.

The arbitrator said Emergency Medical Care calculated the costs of the pension plan and other benefits at $23 million over the life of the contract.

Leo Glavine, Nova Scotia's health minister, said the issue is now settled.

"Hopefully they are happy with the defined pension benefit and the monetary remuneration," he said Monday.

Emergency Medical Care declined to comment on the deal.

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