700 baggage handlers and ground crew at Pearson Airport officially went on strike Thursday night after rejecting an offer from their employer.

The workers are employed by Swissport, a company that services 30 airlines at Pearson including Air Transat, Sunwing, Air France and British Airways.

While Greater Toronto Airport Authority and the airlines affected said they have contingency plans in place to ensure no flights are affected, delays were reported as early as Thursday evening, within hours of workers going on strike.

Workers include baggage handlers, cargo handlers, cabin cleaners and ground staff, as well as employees who tow planes for the airlines serviced by Swissport.

The offer from Swissport to the members of Local 419 was rejected almost unanimously, at 95 per cent.

Part of the problem workers claim is that temporary workers aren’t being trained properly, resulting in unsafe working conditions and accidents. Swissport denies the allegations.

It isn’t clear yet when the parties will return to the bargaining table.

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