A baggage handlers' strike at Pearson Airport, the largest airport in Toronto, could disrupt flights Thursday.
According to CBC.ca, workers from the Teamsters Canada Local Union 419 are set to hold a strike Thursday over a contract dispute. The union represents baggage and cargo handlers, cabin cleaners, and other ground operational roles. It has been in negotiations with Swissport Canada, the baggage handling company that employs its workers, and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority over a new contract.
“We’re talking about severe delays, flight cancellations potentially. We need to keep in mind that Swissport does baggage handling and a whole bunch of flight critical operations,” union spokesperson Christopher Monette told CBC.ca.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority told The Toronto Star that it has a contingency plan in place in the event of a strike. Swissport services 30 of the 74 airlines that use the airport.
According to Toronto Metro News, the union has raised issues regarding training and new, temporary workers hired last May in negotiations with Swissport. A statement issued by the union last week said that new temporary workers hired by the company only receive three to four days of training, rather than the three to four weeks union workers receive.
“We don’t think Swissport can basically do their jobs with workers that have no experience and poor training,” Monette told Toronto Metro News.
“We are confident that protocals are being followed,” said Swissport Canada VP of operations Pierre Payette in a statement to Toronto Metro News.
We’ve reached out to major airlines at the airport for word on any potential flight disruptions and accommodations for affected passengers. Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for further details.