KITCHENER -- Paramedic service workers with the Region of Waterloo have voted in favour of a strike mandate.

In a press release, CUPE 5191 said 97 per cent of its 256 members, which include paramedics and logisitcs and support workers, voted to authorize the union to take strike action if necessary.

Their contract expired on March 31, 2020.

CUPE told CTV Kitchener it’s not unusual for employees to keep working past a contract’s expiration date, adding, the pandemic delayed negotiations.

But 97 per cent of members voted in favour for the union to authorize a strike, if need be.

The region and union are scheduled to come to the table on April 28 and 29, with a provincially appointed mediator.

In the press release, union president Luke McCann said he believes a deal can be reached, but says the vote indicates members are looking for a fair deal.

CUPE said a strike is not imminent at this point, and will not be commenting directly on negotiations.