Unionized workers at YVR are advising air travellers they could be in for some lengthy delays over the Labour Day weekend after issuing 72-hour strike notice today (Aug. 27) that could have them walking the picket lines starting just after midnight Friday morning.
"Job action will cause significant delays at the airport and we are advising travellers to plan accordingly," said Dave Clark, regional vice president of the UCTE, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
"The public should contact YVR or their airline to check on the status of their flights."
Negotiations, with the assistance of a federal mediator are scheduled for Aug. 28 and 29.
"We hope our talks are productive but we are prepared to take job action if necessary. The ball is in YVR's court," Clark said.
On the PSAC's website, Bob Jackson, regional executive vice president, said, "We felt we had no choice. YVR is demanding concessions, but at the same time are budgeting millions of dollars per year on capital projects. Our members find this unacceptable."
PSAC represents roughly 300 workers responsible for key services such as emergency response, international arrivals customer care, runway maintenance, airfield and approach lighting, passenger loading operations, maintenance and administrative services at the airport.
According to YVR officials, if a strike does occur the airport will remain "open and operating in a safe and efficient manner."
"Federal regulations require essential employees be in place to ensure the safety and security of travelers and airport facilities," stated an advisory on the YVR website. "The Airport Authority and the PSAC have a Maintenance of Activities Agreement, reached on Aug. 23, which ensures employees in these essential roles will continue to work alongside management."
Anne Murray, YVR's vice president, community affairs, said lengthy delays are not anticipated, but encouraged travellers to check the status of their flights and airlines at YVR.ca.
"But we are hopeful we can come to a fair equitable agreement with workers prior to that and have set aside time for negotiations," Murray said.
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