News

Fuel spill at Montreal's Trudeau airport as refuelling workers' strike continues

MONTREAL — Aircraft refuelling workers with Swissport Canada remained off the job Saturday as a strike that began earlier in the week continued.

The company has been maintaining refuelling services with trained managers from across the country since the strike began Tuesday, impacting operations at two Montreal airports.

Officials confirmed there was a minor fuel spill on the tarmac at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal on Friday evening.

The company said the accident occurred around 7 p.m. when a tanker truck struck a cement pillar.

Swissport said the vehicle was being operated by a manager who oversees vehicle maintenance and handles such equipment on a regular basis.

About 40 litres of fuel was spilled, which both the company and the airport authority described as minor, with two aircraft delayed by the incident.

Frederique Laquerre, a spokesperson for Aeroports de Montreal, said firefighters applied an absorbent material to deal with the spill.

The company is the only supplier of fuel for airlines operating out of Montreal’s cargo airfield in Mirabel and the city’s main airport, Montreal-Trudeau International.

Roughly 100 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have been off the job since Dec. 31, including aircraft refuellers, mechanics, dispatchers and fuel storage maintenance workers.

Salaries and work-life balance are the main points of contention between Swissport and its Montreal-area workers, who have been without a contract since August.

A federal mediator met with the company and the union separately last week.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service has been working with the parties since October.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2020.

The Canadian Press