Pearson Airport security staff suspended because of delays

Employees protesting new shift procedures causing delays for passengers
||Last Updated: 10/11/2011

The company managing security staff at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is suspending 74 of its screening officers and commencing formal legal action against them for participating in a “go-slow” campaign.

Delays of up to two hours began being reported at the airport on Oct. 6. Security management began removing any personnel causing undue hold-ups on Oct. 11.

The suspensions follow the officers’ refusal to honour a Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) injunction and court order prohibiting a work slowdown in screening operations at the airport

"While the vast majority of our 1,600 screening officers at Pearson are performing their jobs, a small number of individuals have caused disruptions and delays and their actions will not be tolerated," says COO of Garda Security CanadaMarc-Andre Aube. "We deeply regret the disruption and inconvenience caused by their actions."

Although delays have reportedly cleared up at the airport, a notice on Pearson’s website suggests that passengers check the status of their flights before arriving to the airport.

The security staff and their employer, Garda Security, are in the midst of a dispute over the implementation of a new scheduling system the union claims is not part of their current collective agreement. According to a release on the union’s website, Garda Security is trying to implement shift bidding, but the union says the change will be detrimental to the lives of its members.

Garda Security, a private company that is contracted by CATSA, won a CIRB injunction last week prohibiting workers from slowing down on the job.

Last week, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt condemned the job action, labeling it “illegal,” and appointed a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to assist the parties in resolving their outstanding dispute.

Security screeners with Garda Security at Pearson are members of the Canadian Airport Workers’ Union, an independent union formed in 2007.

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