Durham Region’s inside workers voted on Saturday to reject the municipality’s latest offer and continue their strike.

Some 1,600 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members walked off the job on Thursday, citing Durham’s demands for concessions over the sick leave benefit of emergency medical services (EMS) workers.

The union said management refuses to pay for the first three days of paramedics’ sick leave.

“Our members remain united in their fight for a fair contract for all,” CUPE 1764 President Pauline Hopley said in a statement.

“This is a message to management and council that our members will not stand for their divisive tactics. It is time for the employer to stop their divide and conquer games and come back to the bargaining table and end this unnecessary strike with a fair contract that does not attack workers who save lives in our community.”

Durham Regional Chair Roger Anderson said they have a major problem with absenteeism by EMS workers.

“We’re always open to going back to the table, if the union has something they want to present that will address the absentee problems and the costs implicated by it,” Anderson said.

The contract offer was rejected by just over half of the union’s members.

No new talks are planned.

Meanwhile, those paramedics are required to keep working during the strike because they’ve been deemed an essential service.

There are closures or reduced service at the region’s day cares, provincial court office, Ontario Works program and environmental health offices.

Check the Durham Region website for updates.

With files from Irene Preklet, 680News