In a sign of a changing labour climate at Air Canada, the country’s largest airline announced Monday it had reached a lengthy 10-year contract with its pilots after they agreed to open talks ahead of schedule.
No details of the agreement, which would run until 2024, are being released, pending a ratification vote by the 3,000 members of the Air Canada Pilots Association.
“This new, 10-year agreement with the Air Canada Pilots Association is an important development which, if ratified, will allow us to further accelerate the implementation of business strategy and support long-term profitable growtyh for the benefit of Air Canada and our pilots,” said Benjamin Smith, Air’s Canada president of passenger airlines, in a news release.
The previous round of labour negotiations at Air Canada with its unions was marked by unrest and bookoffs by pilots. The airline was hit by a brief strike by the customer service representatives. Other deals that were negotiated by the pilots, flight attendants and baggage handlers were all rejected by the rank-and-file membership.
The federal government intervened with rare legislation to block any strike or lockout by pilots just before the busy March Break in 2012. Instead, an arbitrator imposed a contract on the pilots, who were upset their right to strike was taken away.
That contract was scheduled to run until April 2016, but when recently approached by airline management the pilots indicated they were open to consider early negotiations.