The Airport is deemed an essential service and, as such, the Authority and PSAC negotiated an Essential Services Agreement prior to the start of the strike, which was then issued as a formal Order by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).This CIRB Order defines how the Authority will access various essential employees during the strike and is intended to ensure safe Airport operations.
Employees that operate the Airport’s winter fleet are defined as essential employees.The normal complement of staff during a winter weather event is four crews of ten (10) employees that are responsible for clearing snow and maintaining runways, taxiways, roads and parking lots.During the strike, the Essential Services Agreement provides the Authority with 70% of this normal resource complement, or four crews of seven (7) employees.The execution of the winter operations plan will ensure a focus on high priority areas to guarantee safe Airport operations.In addition, during a heavy snowfall event, the Essential Services Agreement allows access to further essential resources.
“The recent reckless comments made by the union spokesperson are inaccurate and may create undue public concern about the Airport’s operations during the coming winter months. These comments also do a disservice to our employees who fully recognize and respect the importance of winter operations and the impact it has on the safety of the travelling public.Safety is the number one priority for the Airport Authority and our employees, and it should be the number one priority for PSAC as well,” said Keith Collins, President and CEO of the St. John’s International Airport Authority.
The union is legally obligated to comply with the Essential Services Agreement as an Order of the CIRB to ensure safe winter operations.If the union fails to meet these obligations, the CIRB will respond accordingly.
“Such fear-mongering by the union is completely inappropriate, and it will do nothing to settle this strike.We would prefer to see the union working hard at the negotiating table to settle this strike rather than working hard to keep our employees on the street,” added Collins