Air Canada pilots vote in favour of strike
Feb. 15, 2012, Toronto - Air Canada pilots have voted 97 per cent in favour of a strike mandate, giving their Association an overwhelming mandate to achieve a negotiated agreement at the bargaining table. More than 97 per cent of the pilots took part in the vote.
"This vote demonstrates that Air Canada pilots are united in their desire to reach a freely negotiated agreement," said Captain Paul Strachan, President of the Air Canada Pilots Association. "The corporation must now recognize the resolve of Air Canada pilots and come to the bargaining table with a renewed commitment to negotiations in good faith."
Captain Strachan also reassured the airline's passengers that the pilots do not want a strike. "Pilots were forced to take this vote as a defensive measure because the corporation chose to put itself in a legal lock out position," he said. "Air Canada pilots have demonstrated their commitment to reaching a negotiated settlement by continuing to fly under a contract that expired in March 2011."
Negotiations will continue with the assistance of a new federal mediator, to be appointed by federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.
"We welcome the federal government's support for free collective bargaining," Captain Strachan said.
Air Canada pilots have been unable to freely negotiate a contract for more than a decade. Their last agreement froze their pay for more than two years and provided their airline with hundreds of millions of dollars in relief from the corporation`s pension funding obligations.
"Air Canada pilots have been more than fair and reasonable, maintaining their professionalism throughout these difficult negotiations. We trust the corporation will match the pilots' commitment to reach a negotiated settlement and, as such, there is no reason why our passengers should be concerned about their travel plans."