• warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/nefacnet/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 351.
  • warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/nefacnet/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 351.

St. Johns - Labour Board Sides With Marine Atlantic

Labour board sides with Marine Atlantic
WebPosted Nov 27 2003 04:20 PM AST
ST. JOHN'S  — 
The Canada Industrial Relations Board has issued an order that's making Marine Atlantic and the tourism industry very happy.

On Thursday, the board ordered that there be "no reduction in the level of Marine Atlantic Inc.'s regular ferry service between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia at any time of the year."

The decision comes more than a year after the Canadian Marine Officers' Union (CMOU) asked the board to decide whether the ferry service was essential.

In his one-page order, Edmund Tobin, co-chair of the CIRB, says the board has determined "any reduction at any time of the year would pose an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public."

Sid Hynes, chair of Marine Atlantic, says he interprets the order to apply to all the corporation's employees and to both the year-round Port aux Basques service and the summer Argentia run.

Saying he's "extremely happy" with the outcome, Hynes calls it a win for the trucking industry, which makes up more than half of Marine Atlantic's business, tourism and the travelling public.

Hynes says the order removes the risk of a legal strike, although he acknowleges illegal walkouts, such as the one this fall, can happen.

"(There) was always that risk in the past that you could be a legal strike, but this ruling making the service essential, completely essential, takes care of that," he says.

Hynes says there are other mechanisms for handling disputes, and Marine Atlantic will deal with its employees fairly.

Scope of ruling questioned

Harold Anderson of the CMOU says he's surprised at the order. He says the union had argued that essential services could be maintained with one sailing a day, along with a vessel on standby.

Anderson also isn't sure he agrees with Hynes' interpretation that "regular ferry service" applies to the Argentia service.

"I have to check it out with the lawyer, but as far as I can see, they are not talking at all about Argentia," he says.

Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, the province's tourism industry association, is pleased with the order.

Association president Stan Cook says it's the best possible ruling the industry could have hoped for. Even though there hasn't been a legal strike since the summer of 1973, he says the threat of strikes has always hurt tourism operators.