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PSAC federal workers take to Toronto Pearson Airport to 'escalate' strike action

Hundreds of people gathered at Toronto Pearson Airport's Terminal 1 for a 'priority picket line.' More than 150,000 civil servants represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada walked off the job last week. (Paul Borkwood/CBC - image credit)
Hundreds of people gathered at Toronto Pearson Airport's Terminal 1 for a 'priority picket line.' More than 150,000 civil servants represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada walked off the job last week. (Paul Borkwood/CBC - image credit)

Hundreds of public servants took to Toronto Pearson Airport Thursday for a "priority picket line" they hope will speed up talks with the federal government and settle a large-scale labour disruption that started last week.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents more than 150,000 civil servants currently on strike, in a news release Thursday called the demonstration an "escalation" of their job action so far.

"We're here because our lives have been disrupted by the federal government and it's time for them to feel some disruptions themselves," Craig Reynolds, the regional executive vice president for the Ontario branch of the union, told CBC Toronto.

The union says about 500 workers were shuttled into the area with buses for the protest. But Reynolds says members would rather be at work.

"It's a shame. We deserve better and we'll be here, we'll continue to escalate until we get a fair contract."

Paul Borkwood/CBC
Paul Borkwood/CBC

Give yourself extra time if flying, airport says

Toronto Pearson Airport said the demonstration may cause delays in accessing the airport. This morning, it said it experienced "minor disruptions" in its departure curbside areas and advised all travellers to plan around the protest.

"We're working together with Peel Regional Police to ensure traffic can continue moving, but advise travellers to give themselves extra time if flying from Pearson today," a statement from the airport reads.

The strike affects a significant portion of the national capital's largest employer, disrupts about 30 departments and affects a range of services, including processing of income tax returns and passports.

WATCH | Striking public servants picket high-profile sites:

Among the union's key issues are pay increases in line with the rising cost of living and a remote work policy enshrined in the next contract.

The federal government has offered a nine per cent raise spread out over three years, a move that negotiators say would add $6,250 to the pocket of the average worker.