Porter Airlines says flights operating normally
A Porter Airlines plane flies over Toronto in this file photo. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)
Published Thursday, January 10, 2013 5:10AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 10, 2013 4:36PM EST
TORONTO -- Porter Airlines says flights out of the Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto were operating normally Thursday, despite a strike by 22 employees who refuel its planes.
Talks between the workers, represented by the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, and management broke down Wednesday over wages.
In a statement, Porter Aviation Holdings Inc. said negotiations stalled when the union turned down a 6.1 per cent wage increase for this year.
"No negotiations are currently scheduled," said Porter spokesman Brad Cicero.
The strike is a first for the workers, who have been trying to negotiate a first contract since organizing last August.
Cicero says the two sides disagree on the wages for both newly-hired and senior employees.
According to the regional carrier, salaries for new employees begin at $28,000 per year while senior employees can make up to $45,000 per year.
The company would not reveal the current timeline for the wages, but says the offered contract included increases for employees at all pay-levels year over year.
The union was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
As part of its contingency plan, Porter trained replacement workers to fill in during the labour disruption.
"Everyone currently working is trained as well or better than the workers currently on strike," said Cicero. "Everyone is certified and operating to the highest safety standards."
Porter flies to about a dozen cities in Eastern Canada and the United States and carried 2.45 million passengers last year.