VANCOUVER, July 22 /CNW/ - Servisair now admits in a legal document filed this afternoon that there have been major flight delays at Vancouver International Airport since it locked out refueling supervisors on Monday - delays it and YVR management denied publicly until now, says the supervisors' union.
A Servisair application to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board states that WestJet complained of "quite significant" delays and that "Air Canada advised Servisair that it could not afford a repeat" of delays experienced Monday July 19 when replacement workers took over from existing trained supervisors, says Stephen Dunsmore, Regional Vice-President Pacific of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees - a component union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
The Servisair application says Air Canada complained of "cost attributable to fuelling delays" and that United, KLM, Continental, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, US Airways and Air North all reported fuelling delay, Dunsmore said.
A WestJet official quoted in the documents says the delays were significant and impacted well over 140 other flights in the WestJet system.
Says Dunsmore: "This CIRB application is a legal document that demonstrates irrefutably that both Servisair and Vancouver International Airport management deliberately misled the public and the media about what Servisair admits have been quite significant delays due to their lockout of experienced refueling supervisors."
"The solution is obvious - negotiate a fair first collective agreement immediately, as the union has been trying to do from the start - and end this lockout now," Dunsmore said. "We were at the bargaining table Sunday night when Servisair walked away without even hearing our counterproposal and instead locked out our members."
Dunsmore said the Servisair application is a clumsy attempt to blame refueling workers who are continuing to work under their own existing collective agreement for problems when the obvious reality is that inexperienced replacement supervisors don't know how to manage Vancouver International Airport's complex refueling procedures.
"There have been many documented mistakes - some of which are health and safety concerns - that these replacement supervisors are making," Dunsmore said. "We are now documenting safety concerns and will be making the appropriate complaints shortly to bring this to the attention of authorities."
Dunsmore said the union is confident that the CIRB will reject the Servisair allegations, noting that the union advised refueling workers prior to the dispute that they must obey their collective agreement even if supervisors were locked out.
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/