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Porter fuel staff on strike

A file photo of a Porter Airlines plane. CITYNEWS

Twenty-two Porter airline workers are on strike Thursday, but the airline says flights won’t be affected.

Those hitting the picket lines are members of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE) and fuel the aircraft as well as “farm” fuel for the facility.

On Monday, union representatives said they were hoping a strike could be averted.

“The Union has been very reasonable in its requests,” union representative Mary Stalteri said. “We sincerely hope to be able to prevent a strike and unnecessary inconvenience to the travelling public.”

Porter has been training replacement workers since Jan. 2.

COPE said they are concerned that replacement workers will not have the skills necessary to ensure passenger safety.

Members say they will speak with federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, as well as the transportation minister regarding their safety concerns.

The two sides met Wednesday to see if they could come to a collective agreement.

Wages are the sticking point in the talks. The union claims Porter FBO workers “earn considerably less than the industry average” and that the “employer has refused to negotiate a reasonable wage increase.”

Porter insists it offers competitive pay.