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Montreal airport refuellers’ union says ball is in Swissport’s court as strike continues

Swissport employees protest outside Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Tuesday, December 31, 2019.
Swissport employees protest outside Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Tuesday, December 31, 2019. Graham Hughes/The Canadain Press

The union representing striking airplane refuellers at the Montreal and Mirabel airports says the ball in Swissport Canada’s court as the walkout enters its eighth day.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the employer met on Monday in downtown Montreal, where the union presented its proposal.

“We have done our job and believe we have made realistic demands to Swissport,” union spokesperson Michel Richer said in a statement.

READ MORE: Montreal airport refuellers to return to negotiating table on Thursday

The nearly 100 unionized workers with Swissport Canada, which is the only supplier of fuel for airlines operating out of Trudeau and Mirabel airports, walked off the job on New Year’s Eve after rejecting a tentative contract agreement.

The main sticking points are compensation and work-life balance. The workers — which include refuelling personnel, machinists, dispatchers, mechanics and maintenance workers — have been without a contract since last August.

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Last week, the Canada Industrial Relations Board ruled that the union did not bargain in good faith, but that it would not force workers to end their strike. The board did implore the two sides to commence negotiations immediately.

READ MORE: Labour board orders union back to table as Montreal airport refuellers’ strike continues

The union, for its part, said on Tuesday that no other meetings are planned for now.

“The ball is in their court,” Peter Tsoukalas, president of the local union of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said in a statement.

Swissport Canada said it intends to assess the union’s demands before contacting it “as soon as possible.” The company says its services are maintained without delay, despite the strike.

Since air transportation falls under federal jurisdiction, it is subject to the Canada Labour Code. The federal code does not include anti-scab provisions, unlike the Quebec Labour Code.

Montreal airport refuellers walk off the job
Montreal airport refuellers walk off the job

— With files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier and The Canadian Press