Air Canada strike looms Wednesday as negotiations break down
Federal Labor Minister Lisa Raitt previously said the two sides were close to reaching an agreement, but said she would table a back-to-work legislation if the cabin crew would pursue industrial action.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
September 20, 2011 10:15 am EDT
Economy, Business And Finance, Transport, Air Transport, Labor, Strike, Politics, Government, Government Departments
Negotiations between the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) and Air Canada bogged down on Monday, paving the way for a possible strike of cabin crew starting Wednesday.
CUPE, which represents 6,800 stewards and stewardesses, blamed the breakdown of talks on insults hurled by the Air Canada spokesperson on the federal mediator and the CUPE representative. The union said the Air Canada spokesperson used curse words to describe their efforts.
Federal Labor Minister Lisa Raitt previously said the two sides were close to reaching an agreement, but said she would file back-to-work legislation if the union pursued industrial action.
Raitt said the legislation is needed to protect the Canadian economy. Air Canada is the world’s eighth-largest airline and flies to more than 150 destinations in Canada, the United States and overseas.
She met Air Canada and CUPE representatives Monday evening in Ottawa and encouraged them to continue with their discussions in Montreal. Raitt said the earliest she could table the legislation would be Wednesday.
The negotiations are over pensions for new hires, salaries and working conditions. Cabin crew members have been without a contract since March 31; 87.8 percent of the CUPE members rejected a tentative agreement in August and 98 percent later voted for a strike mandate.
The potential strikes would come after 3,800 sales and service agents of the flag carrier ended their three-day strike over the summer, hours after Raitt filed back-to-work legislation in the House of Commons.
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