Porter Airlines – Labour action at Billy Bishop Airport not expected to slow flights

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Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

THUNDER BAY – The employees who fuel Porter Airlines aircraft at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport will be on strike at midnight tonight. However the job action is not expected to slow or delay Porter flights out of airport. Porter Airlines state, “All flights are scheduled to operate normally at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport during a strike by fuel handlers. Fully-trained and certified staff are in place to provide service.

The workers are members of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE). Porter Airlines has asked for a one day extension on the strike deadline. However the union says Porter “Has not moved on their position of an increase of 25 cents per hour for employees without a DZ licence (11 employees out of 22 in the bargaining unit). The others would get no increase. These employees are the lowest paid in the industry.The average annual income of the striking workers is $28,000”.

Porter Airlines and Billy Bishop Airport

Billy Bishop is considered vital to business and plays an integral part in the growth of Canada’s largest city. The airport is recognised by people who need to get places in a hurry. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) is a major economic engine for the Greater Toronto Area, generating $1.9 billion in annual economic output and 5,700 jobs, which includes 1,700 directly associated with the airport.

Porter Airlines has recorded increased passenger numbers, and offers fast friendly service between Toronto and Thunder Bay.

To check flight status, visit Flight Tracking on NNL.

In a media statement, from the Union, “The workers are concerned that the replacement workers being hired by Porter will not have the skills necessary to ensure the safety of the flying public.Training for new employees generally takes one month to obtain all the certification required to do the job. Training of replacement workers started after January 2”.

COPE members working at Porter not only fuel aircraft but they “farm” fuel for the facility as well.  This means they collect fuel from the provider and store and transport fuel in large tankards to aircraft as needed. Based on these reports, the Union is concerned for the safety of the flying public. The Union will address these concerns with the Honourable Lisa Raitt, the federal Minister of Labour as well as the federal Minister of Transportation.