Air Canada pilots in strike vote

IT made a CA$249 million (US$248 million) loss last year and now Air Canada’s pilots and cargo agents are threatening to go on strike.

In May 2011, 67 per cent of Air Canada Pilots Association’s (ACPA) 3,000 voting members rejected a proposed contract for the union, casting uncertainty over the airline’s proposals for starting a low-cost carrier and introducing pension reforms.

The carrier says it is willing to talk for as long as it takes, but the pilots’ union is in battle mode.

“Fellow Air Canada pilots, we have no option other than to commence a vote seeking a mandate to defend your rights and interests,” ACPA chairman Gary Tarves remarks.

The deadline for new terms and conditions will be 14 February, but Air Canada chief executive officer Calin Rovinescu says management is willing to stay at the bargaining table. “We are prepared to continue negotiation beyond that date and have indicated to ACPA that we intend to not impose a new collective agreement in the near term,” he says.

If talks break down ACPA will give 72-hours’ notice of the walkout on 17 February.

Bargaining talks – focusing on redundancy concerns – between Air Canada and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which includes cargo agents, are set to expire on 18 February.

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