Dispute with workers disrupts flights at Toronto airport
A disruption by workers that refuel planes at Toronto’s Pearson airport caused flight delays and cancellations on Friday July 2, as the city prepared for the start of the Pan American Games on July 10.
In a bulletin posted online, Pearson Airport said a dispute could disrupt flights.
By 1:20 pm, its website showed 45 cancelled departures and more than 70 delays affecting a range of airlines. It was not clear how many were routine, and how many were caused by the dispute.
International Association of Machinists spokesman Bill Trbovich said members of Lodge 2413, employees of Consolidated Aviation Fueling, were calling in sick in large numbers, but the union had not sanctioned the job action.
Many of the cancelled flights were operated by Air Canada, the airport’s biggest user. But rival WestJet Airlines said the dispute had led to two cancellations as well as “lengthy delays.”
“Union members are calling in sick and as a result, there are fewer staff at work today and it is taking much longer to have our aircraft refuelled,” said a WestJet spokesman.
IAM’s Trbovich said 30 of the 47 workers due in on Friday morning called in sick. Of the 56 scheduled to work in the afternoon, at least 27 have called in sick. He said union leaders were hoping to meet with their employer.
250 employees of Consolidated Aviation Fueling are set to lose their jobs in the autumn as Air Canada and other airlines switch fuel providers, he said.
“This is not a labour disruption between the airlines and their fueling company,” said Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick. “This is a labour disruption at Consolidated Aviation Fueling Services which is affecting all airlines at Pearson.”
Air Canada is switching its Toronto and Montreal fuel providers from Consolidated Aviation to ASIG in Toronto, effective October 1, and to Swissport in Montreal, effective July 1.
The Pan Am Games are expected to draw 250,000 visitors and 10,000 athletes to Toronto and the surrounding area. Reuters