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Thursday,  February 29, 2024 9:02 AM 

Air Canada pilots use "escape clause" to start bargaining ahead of schedule

  • Air
  •   05-30-2023  5:10 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Air Canada pilots use "escape clause" to start bargaining ahead of schedule
(Air Canada)
Pax Global Media

Air Canada's pilots have ended a 10-year-long contract framework, which will open the door to "full bargaining this summer," their union leadership Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) told Reuters in a note on Monday (May 29).

Air Canada pilots, which joined the ALPA this month, have previously said they are pushing for "historic" wage gains to narrow the earnings gap with higher-paid pilots at U.S. carriers.

The demands echo those of WestJet’s pilots, which recently averted a strike after months of seeking better job protections, benefits and wages to bring them in line with their U.S. counterparts.

As per a tentative agreement summary obtained by PAX, Onex Corp's WestJet Airlines reached a tentative deal that would offer a 24 per cent hourly raise over four years, plus other pay and benefits.

This agreement – to be clear – has not yet been formalized as both parties are awaiting a ratification vote to be put forward to membership.

The some 4,500 pilots at Air Canada have received a two per cent wage increase per year since reaching a deal in 2014.

The union, Reuters reports, had a Monday deadline for using a type of “escape clause” that would activate negotiations this year.

The agreement now runs until Sept. 29, 2023, although provisions would apply beyond that date.

The Air Canada pilots group told Reuters that it expects a notice to bargain to be provided in early June.

"Our pilots may elect to use the option that was available to them to initiate bargaining for a new collective agreement," Air Canada told the outlet. "The current agreement, which has been in place for nine years, is testimony of the productive relationship we have with our pilots."

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