Vancouver — Airline catering workers who are employed by Gate Gourmet and serve dozens of airlines at Vancouver International Airport have issued a 72-hour strike notice after voting 98% in favour of strike action. Potential strike action could impact Air Canada, Air France, and KLM and other airline clients of Gate Gourmet. UNITE HERE Local 40 filed the strike notice, which authorizes workers to take job actions, up to and including a strike, after a series of fruitless bargaining sessions. The strike vote comes amidst staff shortages at YVR Airport, resulting in heavier workloads for employees, and delays for travellers.
While big airlines such as Air Canada gave $10 million in executive bonuses after receiving a $5.9 billion bailout from the Canadian government, contracted airline catering workers were left behind. Protracted pandemic layoffs led to a significant reduction in airline catering staff, and staffing levels have yet to recover as air travel has rapidly resurged. Airline catering workers prepare meals for pre-flight assembly, load aircraft trolleys with beverages, snacks, and duty-free items, and deliver, load, and unload directly on the aircraft with critical turnaround times to ensure flights depart on time.
“Airline catering workers have been working day in and day out, serving travellers through the pandemic. As tourism came back this year and consumer prices hit 31-year highs, we are overworked and underpaid. We’ve attempted to address these issues in good faith with the company, but they continue to propose low wage increases and cuts to our health benefits. This has left us with no other choice but to issue a strike notice,” said Kiran Hundal, a Gate Gourmet tray assembly worker and bargaining committee member.
UNITE HERE Local 40 members at Gate Gourmet at the Vancouver International Airport are part of the world’s largest independent provider of airline catering, which serves about 250 million meals a year to customers internationally.
Media Contact: Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected].
UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service, construction camps, and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.