Wildcat Strike Stops N.S-Nfld. Ferry

NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. - A wildcat strike has closed the ferry service between North Sydney, N.S. and Port aux Basques, Nfld.

Workers on the Marine Atlantic ferries that ply the route walked off the job Friday to protest against the federal Crown corporation's plan to cut jobs in the gift shops and bars on the ships.

"We're just concerned about the 20-odd jobs that are being lost on the boats," said Gerard Quirk, one of the protesters in North Sydney.

Between 80 and 100 workers, members of the Canadian Auto Workers, were marching Friday outside the North Sydney terminal. There was also a demonstration at Port aux Basques.

The North Sydney protesters said they'll block the scheduled 6 p.m. departure.

But Marine Atlantic said it has asked the Canada Labour Relations Board to order the employees to return to work.

Some passengers have been in the terminal since Thursday, when the scheduled evening sailing was cancelled because of the weather.

The ferries run two or three times in each 24-hour cycle. The crossing typically takes between 5