MONTREAL -- Workers in charge of refuelling airplanes at Montreal's two crucial airports have rejected a deal proposed by their union, opening the possibility of a strike in the coming days that could ground planes and halt Montreal air travel.

At a meeting on Friday, employees of Swissport, the only aircraft fuel supplier at Montreal's Trudeau Airport and the nearby Mirabel Airport, voted 90 per cent against the deal proposed by their employer and union.

On Sunday, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) said in a press release that if the agreement in principle is rejected, the parties will resume mediation discussions with the possibility of a strike effective Jan. 1.

The union workers' last contract expired in August. Wages and work-life balance were among the main issues.

Swissport Canada's vice-president of human resources, Louis-Philippe Charland, suggested the union negotiating committee would recommend its members ratify the agreement, which the union did not mention in its press release.

Swissport Canada is the sole supplier of fuel to airlines at both airports. The employees concerned are aircraft refuellers, mechanics at fuel storage facilities, dispatchers, refuelling maintenance employees and mechanics.

In the event of a strike, Swissport Canada could call on managers to maintain its activities.

With files from The Canadian Press