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St. John’s airport strike disrupts local business market

May 7, 2013, St. John's, N.L. - A strike at the St. John's International Airport is being blamed for the loss of convention business and other headaches as high tourism season looms.


May 7, 2013
By The Canadian Press

May 7, 2013, St. John's, N.L. – A strike at the St. John's International
Airport is being blamed for the loss of convention business and
other headaches as high tourism season looms.

About 63 workers including firefighters and maintenance staff
have walked the picket line for nearly eight months over wages and
job security.

Cathy Duke of Destination St. John's says some labour groups
would rather cancel meetings in St. John's than cross the picket
line.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
cancelled its conference last November because of the strike.

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Duke says it has now pulled out for next November in case the
dispute drags on.

She says that's a loss of 600 delegates and related spinoffs that
would total about 1.7 million dollars.

The St. John's International Airport Authority says workers want
unrealistic wage hikes and have refused concessions on contracting
and pension issues.

Chris Bussey, an airport firefighter and union negotiator, says
wages have fallen behind what's paid at other airports.

The union wants a 56-per-cent wage hike over four years for staff
earning between 18 dollars and 32 dollars an hour.

New contract talks have not been scheduled.