PRINCE RUPERT – Workers at the Prince Rupert Airport are prepared to strike after negotiations with management broke down earlier this month.
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Regional Executive Vice President Kay Sinclair says the workers are prepared to take job action unless the employer returns to the table and drops their demand that employees work more hours without compensation.
“We are very close to a deal,” says Sinclair, “With the help of a Conciliation Officer almost all the outstanding items, including wages, have been settled.”
“But the Airport Authority insists that our members agree to work longer hours without being paid,” she continues, “Management downsized the workforce by almost 50% over the last two years and now wants to increase the workday for the remaining employees by half an hour, without paying them for the time.”
“Our members are stuck on Digby Island for their whole eight hour day,” explains Stephen Dunsmore, Regional Vice-President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), “Management knows they can’t leave the island to take a proper break and thinks they can take advantage of that.”
“Unpaid work won’t fly at YPR,” he says, “The Airport Authority should drop their unreasonable demand and return to the table. A labour disruption at Prince Rupert airport will have serious economic consequences for the city.”
Members of PSAC/UCTE employed by the Prince Rupert Airport Authority as runway and terminal maintenance workers, fuellers, and administrative staff have been without a contract since November 2009. They voted in favour of strike action in March 2011.