Too early for Ottawa's intervention in airport screeners labour dispute: union

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ST.JOHN'S, N.L. - The union that represents airport screeners in the Atlantic provinces says Ottawa's invention in its labour dispute is "premature."

Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has asked the Canada Industrial Relations Board to review the situation and ensure that public safety would not be affected by a work stoppage.

But Boyd Bussey (BUS-sey) of the United Steelworkers in St. John's, N.L., says there's still time for the union and their employer, Securitas Transport Aviation Security Limited, to return to the negotiating table.

Bussey says the two sides are in the midst of developing an essential services agreement and if that cannot be reached, then the union would ask the labour board to intervene.

Securitas delivers airport screening services on behalf of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Union members have voted almost unanimously to strike.

Their contract expires this Wednesday, but Bussey says the 800 workers won't be walking off the job Thursday if negotiations are still ongoing.

The government has said both the union and Securitas must continue normal work activities until the labour board makes a ruling on what level of service must be provided to ensure public safety.

Organizations: Securitas, Canada Industrial Relations Board, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

Geographic location: Ottawa, St. John's

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