VANCOUVER, July 19 /CNW/ - About 40 flights out of Vancouver International Airport were delayed in departing Monday by 5:30 p.m. as the first day of a lockout of refueling supervisors by employer Servisair disrupted air travel, says their union.
And despite delays ranging from about 15 minutes to several hours, negotiators for Servisair left negotiations without responding to a union comprehensive settlement offer, saying they would not return until Tuesday, said Stephen Dunsmore, Regional Vice-President Pacific of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees - a component union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
"The irresponsible behavior of Servisair towards Vancouver International Airport, the traveling public and its own workers is astonishing," said Dunsmore. "Dozens of flights have been delayed and flyers inconvenienced but Servisair couldn't be bothered to conduct collective bargaining in a timely manner to resolve this lockout."
The average number of fuel-instigated delays per year at YVR is nine, Dunsmore said, but due to the Servisair lockout the annual average for four years has been exceeded in just one day.
Dunsmore said that Servisair's bad attitude was also shown Sunday night when the employer left bargaining at 7:30 p.m. despite its own midnight lockout deadline and the union team being ready to negotiate indefinitely to avoid any impact on the travelling public.
"Servisair is a multinational employer who obviously could care less about delaying travelers' flights out of Vancouver," Dunsmore said. "The reputation of Vancouver International Airport - which was boosted enormously during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games - is now being trashed by Servisair not being able to negotiate a simple deal."
Dunsmore said the union remains ready to resume bargaining at any point and continue until a tentative agreement is reached.
"Vancouver International Airport is an incredibly important and busy airport for Canada - the union has tried its hardest to avoid a dispute and is now urgently working for a speedy resolution but when Servisair won't seem to take this situation seriously it's hard for us to solve it on our own," Dunsmore said.
Employer Servisair is a Paris-based company that provides fuel to Air Canada, WestJet and other airlines at Vancouver International Airport as well as at more than 128 locations worldwide.
SOURCE PUBLIC SERVICE ALLIANCE OF CANADA BC
For further information: For further information: Stephen Dunsmore, UCTE, at cell 778-998-1491; or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at cell 778-896-0964, or 604-844-7827; Website: http://www.psacbc.com/