Ottawa airport taxi drivers locked out

Unifor, employer in dispute over dispatch fees

Taxi drivers serving passengers at the Ottawa Airport have been locked out.

According to Unifor, the lockout came in spite of a commitment from union members to continue serving customers during the current dispute with the employer.

“We had set up a job action that affected the employer, while continuing to provide a vital service to the public,” said Unifor national representative Harry Ghadban.

The drivers — members of Unifor Local 1688 — have been in a legal strike position since Aug. 1 in a dispute over dispatch fees. The airport authority recently called for an increase in fees, which would add to the cost of taking a taxi.

In protest, the Unifor members stopped paying their dispatch fees as of Aug. 1 but continued to pick up passengers at the airport.

“Taxi drivers are already facing enough challenges, including from illegal taxi services, without driving customers away with increased fees,” Ghadban said.

“The airport authority is the catalyst for this.”

Effective Aug. 11, the employer disabled the transponders drivers use to open gates at the airport and told the union drivers who refuse to pay the fee will no longer be permitted to pick up passengers at the airport.

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