Strike cited as cancellations swamp St. John's airport
The ongoing strike by maintenance workers at St. John's International Airport was on the mind of travellers whose plans were derailed Sunday by a snowstorm.
"They say it's the weather and then we heard that the runways haven't been cleared," said Rick Butt, who was reading a book at the terminal rather than his destination — a beach in Florida.
"We know there is a strike on so I guess that's the big delay."
The city was sacked by a storm that brought heavy, blowing snow, causing numerous cancellations of church services and community events.
At the airport, the board was filled with numerous delays and cancellations, pushing many people's travel plans into Monday or later.
"They're just telling them that the runway isn't good for them to land," said May Burt, whose daughter's flight was delayed in Halifax.
About 85 workers, who handle such functions as plowing runways and emergency services, have been on strike since Sept. 11 in a dispute focused on wages and job security.
The airport authority can call on workers to provide a basic level of service, but travellers found there were still numerous problems on Sunday with runways.
Union representative Chris Bussey said he does not know if the strike was to blame for the cancellations.
"I guess it's a combination of the snow, the type of snow, the changing weather conditions and the airport not being prepared for winter," Bussey said.
The airport authority, which last week called for new talks to end the strike, said it is ready to return to bargaining immediately.