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Provincial mediators call Toronto Pearson's striking airline catering workers back to bargaining

People line up before entering the security at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette People line up before entering the security at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
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Ontario mediators have called striking airline catering workers back to the table for talks with employer Gate Gourmet, Teamsters Canada said Friday.

About 800 food service staff at Toronto's Pearson airport went on strike Tuesday, leaving thousands of passengers without meals this week.

The workers cook, package and deliver food and beverages to planes for service on board, with Air Canada and WestJet having to limit meal offerings after the job action.

Air Canada acknowledged that some long-haul flights were significantly delayed over the past couple of days due to the work stoppage, but said they numbered "very few" relative to overall flight volume.

"Our priority is always to provide customers the best possible travel experience and that includes ensuring flights are properly catered, even if it takes extra time," said spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick in an email.

Teamsters Canada said employees, who make between $17.69 and $25.10 per hour, are willing to return to work if their Swiss-owned employer offers to pay them a living wage.

Gate Gourmet has said it is disappointed the union rejected its latest offer of a 12 per cent raise over three years and hopes to end the strike shortly.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2024.

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