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Swissport says it's coping with workers strike at Pearson, union disagrees

Last Updated Jul 30, 2017 at 10:23 pm EST

Striking workers are seen picketing at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on July, 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

There were widely differing accounts Sunday on how Canada’s busiest airport coped with the strike of 700 ground workers.

Swissport, which employs the strikers at Toronto’s Pearson airport, said there were no major delays Sunday afternoon.

“Our efforts to move passengers and their bags in and out of Pearson Airport safely and without disruption is working well and there have been no delays with our operation so far,” said Pierre Payette, vice president of Swissport’s operations for Toronto.

Swissport would not comment directly on photos which were sent to CityNews reportedly showing managers doing the work of striking employees “without any formal training.”

“All of the staff working for Swissport are fully trained for the role they are performing and regulations are being followed,” said Payette in an email to CityNews. “We will not comment on photos when we do not know the source or context around when and why they were taken.”

However, an official with the Teamsters, which represents the striking workers, painted a far different picture.

Harjinder Badial said the union has received reports there were backlogs in moving baggage at Pearson’s Terminal Three and some flight delays.

Both sides were watching operations on Sunday because all of the 30 airlines that Swissport provides ground services to had flights going in and out of the airport.

The airlines include Air Transat, Air France, and Sunwing. Air Canada and Westjet do not rely on Swissport.

The workers went on strike on Thursday due to pay and benefits cuts.

The union said there were delays in moving baggage on Friday, but the company called it a hiccup.