Ground crew work­ers strike; may af­fect flights at Pear­son

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - BREN­NAN DO­HERTY

Trav­ellers head­ing to Canada’s busiest air­port were warned that a strike by hun­dreds of ground crew work­ers could af­fect some flights on Fri­day, but by mid-af­ter­noon the labour the dis­pute had not cre­ated any ma­jor prob­lems.

The strik­ing work­ers at Toronto’s Pear­son in­ter­na­tional air­port in­clude bag­gage han­dlers, cargo han­dlers, cabin clean­ers, some em­ploy­ees who tow planes and other ground crew.

Since vot­ing over­whelm­ingly Thurs­day night to re­ject a deal with their em­ployer, Swis­s­port, the union­ized work­ers have been walk­ing picket lines, hoist­ing signs and call­ing for a fair con­tract.

Swis­s­port ser­vices sev­eral ma­jor air­lines at the air­port, in­clud­ing Air Transat, Sun­wing Air­lines, Bri­tish Air­ways, Cathay Pa­cific, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa.

The air­port said the labour dis­rup­tion could im­pact some flights and asked pas­sen­gers to check the sta­tus of their flights.

The Greater Toronto Air­ports Author­ity said in a state­ment Fri­day af­ter­noon that Pear­son had been run­ning smoothly “with min­i­mal im­pact” through­out the day.

Team­sters Lo­cal 419, the union rep­re­sent­ing the work­ers, has said that Swis­s­port is at­tempt­ing to im­pose a three-year wage freeze on the ma­jor­ity of the work­ers, re­quire staff to work a min­i­mum of 30 hours a week to qual­ify for full ben­e­fits, and is seek­ing the right to change sched­ules with 96 hours ad­vance no­tice.

Swis­s­port said it has bar­gained in good f aith through­out con­tract talks.

CHRISTO­PHER KATSAROV, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Strik­ing work­ers are seen pick­et­ing at Pear­son air­port in Toronto on Fri­day. Union says Swis­s­port is at­tempt­ing to im­pose a three-year wage freeze.

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