Over the last 24 hours, it has been reported that a worker at Toronto Pearson has tested positive for the Covid-19 Virus. The IAMAW has put pressure on the employer to address numerous health and safety concerns, the main one being the lack of personal protective equipment for screening officers. The response has been lacklustre, and instead of proactive measures public health officials urge employers and the public to take, the employer has referred the union to a regulating body, CATSA. The regulating body, on the other hand, is completely silent, while people are working and putting themselves and their health on the line.
“The government needs to step up and protect our members performing screening operations at airports,” remarked Stan Pickthall, IAMAW General Vice President Canada. We have passengers going through pre-board screening checkpoints and their service provider, guided by a government agency, is refusing to provide our pre-board screener with masks. This is a gross infringement of basic health and safety laws; allowing this to go on is the height of irresponsibility to these workers and the greater public.
GVP Pickthall added that “it is not up for debate, airport workers need to be given the same personal protective equipment as health care workers as they work in close proximity to the travelling public and their belongings.” CATSA needs to follow precautionary measures and give a directive to the employer to issue protective equipment immediately and start communicating with the union and our members.
The IAMAW is calling for the government (CATSA) to immediately provide the proper personal protective equipment for our members. GVP Pickthall went on to say in closing that, “this would not be acceptable in any other high-risk workplace, why is it acceptable in this instance?”
The Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority is a government agency that oversees security screening contractors at Canadian Airports.
The IAMAW is the largest union in air transportation in Canada.
For more information:
Keith Aiken, IAM Canada Airline Coordinator