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Updated: Fri, 30 Aug 2013 01:00:25 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Vancouver airport strike averted, union says

Vancouver airport strike averted, union says

The strike that would have seen more than 300 workers at Vancouver International Airport walk off the job just after midnight tonight has been averted, the Public Service Alliance of Canada says.

At 9:30 p.m. PT, Robyn Benson, national president for PSAC, said he had landed at the airport and was informed that an agreement had been reached in the last-minute contract talks between the union and the Vancouver Airport Authority.

The unionized employees work in areas such as emergency response, international arrivals customer care, passenger loading, runway maintenance and lighting, and administration.

On Tuesday morning, the union issued a 72-hour strike notice and warned passengers to contact the airport or airlines and plan for delays and other potential disruptions in the event of job action.

The strike notice came just weeks after 83 per cent of the membership of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees members voted in favour of a strike.

A union spokesman said flexible shifts and protection from contracting were two of the main issues needing renegotiation.

The B.C. Federation of Labour had warned on Wednesday that air travel into or out of Vancouver could be "chaos" Friday morning if a strike did go ahead; however, an airport spokesperson said repeatedly that the airport would be fully operational even if the strike occurred.

With files from The Canadian Press

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