Porter airline faces strike

A Porter Bombardier Q400 arrives at the Toronto City Centre Airport.



TIMMINS, ON - The employees who fuel Porter aircraft at the Toronto Island Airport could be on strike by the end of this week.

However, the company is assuring customers that "service will not be affected."

"Porter Aviation Holdings Inc. has the internal resources to maintain a safe and efficient operation by using other fully-trained staff and management to fill these roles," said spokesman Brad Cicero in a statement.

Mary Stalteri, representative of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 343, confirmed Porter is "preparing to use replacement workers" in the event of a walkout.

The 22 unionized employees will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Union representatives and management are scheduled to meet Wednesday morning in a final effort to resolve this impasse before the deadline.

Stalteri said the workers presently earn "less than the industry average" and are seeking a wage increase.

"We sincerely hope to be able to prevent a strike and unnecessary inconvenience to the travelling public," she said.

In its statement, Porter Aviation Holdings said: "We're disappointed that the union is trying to intimidate customers by suggesting flights will be disrupted if there is a strike or lockout."

The company also denied the union's claim of substandard wages.

"Porter ... benchmarks it wages and benefits against both aviation and non-aviation companies to ensure we are competitive and will continue to do so. We also paid profit sharing to every team member for 2011's results."

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