Needle found in Air Canada sandwich 0
Reuters file photo
TORONTO -- Peel Regional Police are trying to determine if a disgruntled caterer planted a sewing needle in a sandwich handed out on a Toronto-bound Air Canada jet.
The needle was found on Monday and is the fifth discovered during the past two weeks in sandwiches given to passengers on flights travelling to the U.S. and Canada.
Labour talks aimed at getting catering workers a new contract have broken down, raising the prospect of a strike on Saturday.
Police and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority have contingency plans in place should the 850 mostly caterers who work for Gate Gourmet Canada at Pearson airport go on strike.
The catering workers belong to Teamsters Union Local 647 whose members voted 99% in favour of taking job action in a strike vote.
Union vice-president Martin Cerqua strongly denied that any of his members would try to injure a passenger with a needle.
Det. Malcolm Bow said his officers are in the early stages of a probe to find the culprit who planted the needle.
"We are working with Air Canada and the catering company involved," Bow said. "We are looking to interview passengers and others on that flight."
Officers are in the process of locating the passengers, many of whom have since returned to different parts of Canada or the U.S.
"It can be a disgruntled employee," Bow said. "That is one of the options that we are looking at."
Workers said a strike or work disruption at Pearson can cause problems for Canadian Olympians returning home after the London games.
Cerqua said his members service flights for Air Canada, Air France, Air Transat, British Air, El Al, Turkish Air, KLM, Via Rail and others.
"This company has been trying to undermine the collective agreement," Cerqua charged. "We are willing to meet with the company at any time to avert a strike."
David Fisher, a spokesman for Gate Gourmet, said he's confident his employees weren't involved in the sandwich sabotage because other workers provided the food for the flight which originated in Victoria, B.C.
He added his company is committed to reaching a fair agreement with employees.
"We hope a strike or lockout doesn't happen," Fisher said in a statement.
He said his firm will heighten food safety procedures, including the inspecting and screening of all food brought on flights.
Air Canada officials said they're investigating.