Air Canada Pilots: No Work Stoppage During Holiday Season

TORONTO - Air Canada pilots say there’s no risk of any work stoppage over the Holiday Season, despite their ongoing issues with the airline.

“We want to assure our passengers that Air Canada pilots will continue to fly them safely to their destinations through the Holiday season,” said Captain Paul Strachan, President of the Air Canada Pilots Association.

“Air Canada pilots don’t want a strike. We want to negotiate a new agreement,” Captain Strachan said. “There is no reason for Air Canada or our pilots to take any precipitous action, as long as both parties negotiate in good faith.”

Negotiations between the airline and its pilots resumed November 23rd and are proceeding with the assistance of a federal conciliation officer.  Air Canada filed a notice of dispute with the federal government in late October, triggering the appointment of the conciliator. Under federal legislation, talks can continue for 60 days or longer, with the agreement of the airline and its pilots.

“Air Canada pilots have waited more than a decade for the opportunity to freely negotiate a new collective agreement. We don’t mind if it takes a few more weeks,” Captain Strachan said.

The last contract negotiated freely between the pilots and Air Canada was reached in the year 2000.

The pilots are currently working under a contract which expired at the end of March. Under that 2009 agreement, pilots agreed to freeze their wages and benefits for two years and grant their airline hundreds of millions of dollars in relief from its pension funding obligations because of the financial difficulties Air Canada faced at that time.

The 2009 agreement was not the first time that Air Canada pilots helped rescue their airline. In 2004, when Air Canada emerged from bankruptcy protection, the pilots took wage cuts of 15 – 30 per cent to keep the airline flying.

Air Canada pilots currently earn less than they did a decade ago.

“Throughout Air Canada’s troubles, our pilots have maintained our professionalism and demonstrated great patience,” Captain Strachan said. “We look forward to achieving a collective agreement that recognizes our pilots’ contributions to Air Canada and their essential role in building a healthy, viable future for our airline.”

The Air Canada Pilots Association is the largest professional pilot group in Canada, representing the 3,000 pilots who operate Air Canada’s mainline fleet.

Paul Howard
Director of Communications
Air Canada Pilots Association
905-678-9008 ext. 222

Published on:Publié :
Dec 19, 201119 Dec 2011

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