Strike mandate for Air Transat flight attendants
16 juin 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011 Approximately 1,500 Air Transat
flight attendants have voted by 93% in favour of a mandate for a
general strike, to be launched at the appropriate time. They have
also rejected the latest offer from their employer by 95%. Their
union released the results tonight following a series of meetings
in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. This means that the flight
attendants could launch a strike at any time after July 19.
However, their union representatives hope to negotiate an agreement
and avoid a labour dispute. New bargaining sessions will take place
next Tuesday and Thursday.
30 bargaining sessions since September 2010. Air Transat has
continued to ask for cuts that simply are not justified by its
financial situation. We certainly do not want to disrupt the
operations of the company this summer and we are focused on
negotiating a settlement as quickly as possible. At the same time,
Air Transat needs to recognize the fair value of its flight
attendants, said Nathalie Stringer, president of the Air
Transat Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Our members are sending a clear
message. They want a pension plan that will allow them to grow
older with dignity. They say no to concessions that would affect
younger workers and their families. They believe that it is
imperative to limit the duration of a shift to 14 hours if you
truly care about passenger safety, said Stringer.
I think we have never felt such
support and unity in the entire history of our union. I am very
proud of the solidarity of our members, she added.
On April 21, the union asked the Federal Ministry of Labour to
appoint a conciliator to assist in the ongoing negotiations. Eight
days after that request, a 60-day conciliation period began. If no
agreement is reached during this period, it will be followed by
another 21-day period, and finally, if there is still no agreement,
the two parties may resort to a strike or a lockout, as of July 20.
The Air Transat flight attendants, mostly women, are emergency
specialists whose primary role is to ensure passenger safety. They
have been working without a contract since November 1, 2010. They
are divided into three local unions corresponding to their three
bases: CUPE 4041 (722 members in Montreal-YUL), CUPE 4047
(approximately 570 in Toronto-YYZ) and CUPE 4078 (226 in
Vancouver-YVR). The Air Transat Component oversees these three
In total, CUPE represents nearly 9,500 members in air transport,
including Air Canada, Calm Air, Canadian North, CanJet Airlines,
Cathay Pacific and First Air.
CUPE is the largest union in Canada with 600,000 members working in
health, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social
services, public services, urban and air transport, emergency
services and communications.