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Vancouver airport says no delays despite labour disruption Add to ...

Vancouver International Airport said flights were operating normally Monday despite a labour dispute that saw replacement workers brought in to oversee refuelling of aircraft.

However, the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees disagreed, claiming about 40 flight departures were delayed because of a lockout of refuelling supervisors and administration staff.

They were locked out early Monday after Servisair walked away from the bargaining table Sunday night with the union. Servisair - which operates as GlobeGround Fuel Service - provides fuel for Air Canada, WestJet and several other airlines at Vancouver's airport.

The company said "a team of experienced supervisors" was brought in after the lockout.

An airport spokesman said flights were not affected. The airport website showed no more delays than usual for passengers on Monday.

But in a statement early Tuesday, the union claimed about 40 flight departures were delayed Monday by 5:30 p.m. and that the delays ranged from "about 15 minutes to several hours."

Union spokesman Stephen Dunsmore said the average number of fuel-instigated delays per year at the airport is nine.

GlobeGround, also known as Servisair, had served employees with a 72-hour lockout notice Thursday.

The two had been in bargaining since last fall over the key issues of wages and hours of work.

GlobeGround said it would continue to work with the federal Mediation Conciliation Services and hope to reach a collective agreement.

The union, however, disputed the suggestion that it was business as usual at the airport in their absence.

The workers supervise refuellers at the airport and also calculate fuel loads for individual aircraft. Dunsmore insisted replacement workers supplied by the company are not capable of the job.

"The fuelling process for aircraft is not running particularly smoothly and there are delays," said Mr. Dunsmore.

The airport is advising travellers to check ahead to confirm departure times.

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