01/26/2012 09:01 EST | Updated 03/27/2012 05:12 EDT

Hamilton paramedics have essential service deal, disputes to go to arbitration

HAMILTON - It's being called a "made in Hamilton solution."

Paramedics and civic officials in Hamilton have reached an essential service agreement.

OPSEU Local 256 president Mario Posteraro says it means any future labour disputes will be sent to an arbitrator and keep the city's 275 paramedics on the job.

Posteraro says the provincial legislation hasn't changed, but the Hamilton agreement will provide non-stop service to local patients.

The current contract for local paramedics expires on March 31.

Paramedics and other emergency medical workers from across Ontario rallied in Toronto earlier this week, demanding to be made an essential service like police officers and firefighters.