The contract between about 800 Atlantic Canadian airport security workers, who voted in favour of a strike, and Securitas Transportation Aviation Security Ltd. expired last night.
The workers, who are represented by United Steelworkers, have been negotiating with their employer since mid January, but failed to reach an agreement says Lawrence McKay, the union’s area coordinator in the Atlantic Provinces.
The workers unanimously voted in favour of a strike but must continue working because Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt asked the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to decide whether the workers provide an essential service.
McKay says the union wants 20 per cent of the workers to be allowed to strike while Securitas, a Swedish owned company, wants all workers to be deemed essential and be prevented from striking.
The security workers are not allowed to go on strike until the CIRB has made a decision, a process which took an average of 47 days in 2011-2012.
McKay says that Securitas had the opportunity to ask the CIRB to look into this issue when the union filed for conciliation in July. They had 15 days to file the request and missed the deadline by over a month says McKay, and adds that the federal minister requested the CIRB look into this issue after the union pointed out that Securitas had missed the deadline.