Sunday, August 24, 2008

Molly has reported on the plans of Air Canada to close their Winnipeg and Halifax bases for flight attendants, and also on the opposition to this scheme. Here's an update from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) on the present state of negotiations about this.

Air Canada discussions to go to arbitration

Air Canada flight attendants and management were unable to reach agreement last week on how to handle the company’s proposed lay offs and base closures.

The Union met with the Company from August 11th to 14th in Calgary. Under Division IX of the Canada Labour Code, a Joint Planning Committee (JPC) was established, but discussions were unable to find a common ground on which to proceed. The objective of the JPC was to develop an adjustment program to eliminate the necessity for the termination of employment; or to minimize the impact of the terminations on the flight attendants.

According to Lesley Swann, president of the CUPE Air Canada Component representing the flight attendants, “Unfortunately, we were not able to complete an adjustment program that was fair for our members. We’ll now be proceeding with the Dispute Resolution Process as outlined in Division IX.”

The process now goes to the Minister of Labour for arbitration to help the parties involved to develop an adjustment program and to resolve any matters in dispute. “We expect that the arbitration will proceed in early September and we should get a decision by mid September,” she added.

Air Canada has agreed, subject to the arbitrator making his decision, that it will not implement its proposed cuts and closures before all the elements of the adjustment program are in place.

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Lesley Swann, President of CUPE Air Canada Component, (416) 809-2577
Humberto da Silva, CUPE National Representative, (416) 839-9550
Dennis Lewycky, CUPE Communications, (204) 942-0343

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