Heading into the holiday rush, St. John’s International Airport Authority is accusing its striking workers of being unreasonable in their demands and unwilling to negotiate in relation to the ongoing airport labour dispute.
The airport authority has released a statement that includes details of its latest offer to members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada local, the workers’ union. The offer was made Nov. 21.
“After more than two weeks of no response from (the union), it is clear that (the union) has no interest in returning to the bargaining table,” the statement reads.
“This is a substantial proposal that offers our employees significant pay increases, very competitive overall compensation and comparable language in the collective agreement to that of the local market and the airport industry,” stated president and CEO of the airport authority, Keith Collins.
“If (the union) fails to respond to this significant proposal and return to the negotiating table, it can only be concluded that, despite their public statements, they have no real interest in negotiating a collective agreement and settling this strike.”
The new proposal would see an increase between 30 per cent and 50 per cent for three-quarters of the striking employees, from 2009-2016. Overall, proposed wage increases run 21 per cent to 60 per cent for the seven-year term.
“While we continue to demonstrate our flexibility to negotiate a collective agreement that is fair to both parties, the Public Service Alliance of Canada has presented no new proposals since the strike began and is holding to unrealistic June 24, 2012 wage demand of 58 per cent over four years, three years of which are already past,” Collins stated.
“If (the union)’s public statements about its desire to return to the bargaining table are sincere, now is the time to demonstrate it.”
The labour dispute heated up with a heavy snowfall on the city Nov. 28. The snow caused several delays and cancellations at the airport and the airport authority ultimately accused striking workers of stranding passengers by not assisting with a response to the snow.