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Busy airports will get worse under for-profit control

December 20, 2017

Toronto—During the busiest season of the year for Canadian airports, Unifor is raising concerns about the dangers of abandoning the not-for-profit model of the nation’s airport network.

“Airports are gateways for millions of passengers and billions of dollars in goods,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Airport security and service should take priority over making a quick buck.”

The federal government continues to consider the 2016 Emerson Report’s recommendation to privatize airports. Opposition to the idea has united trade unions, airport authorities, Air Canada, and several municipalities.

During the holiday season, airport authorities expect more than two million passengers will pass through Pearson International Airport alone. Unifor says that privatized models will result in fewer, lower paid airport personnel, as profit surpasses safety and efficiency as the top objective.

Instead of privatization, the union has offered several recommendations for ending extreme employment insecurity at airports. Studies have shown that one way to improve safety and security at airports is to improve pay and working conditions of airport workers. Improvements would include a $15 minimum wage at airports across the country and stronger protections for workers during sub-contractor changes.

“Workplaces with good pay and job security are the safest workplaces,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. “Airports must remain not-for-profit to maintain the highest possible levels of service and security.”

Opponents to airport privatization include the airport authorities in Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver and Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu. The federal Standing Committee on Finance has recently advised cabinet to prevent airport privatization.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).