October 31, 2014 11:57 am

Air Canada pilots vote 84 per cent in favour of a 10-year contract

Air Canada

Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Air Canada‘s pilots have ratified a new 10-year contract that provides Canada’s largest airline the ability to use mediation or arbitration to resolve disputes.

The pilots’ union says its 3,000 members voted 84 per cent in favour of the deal.

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Union president Capt. Craig Blandford says the deal provides pilots with “stable and secure employment, improved career progression, fair compensation and the opportunity to gain a better share of our airline’s financial success.”

Details of the improved compensation, pension and work rules weren’t immediately available.

The agreement, which expires in September 2024, includes provisions to resolve disputes arising from negotiations on specific items in 2017, 2020 and 2023.

Air Canada (TSX.AC.B) calls it a landmark deal that provides greater stability and long-term cost certainty.

CEO Calin Rovinescu says it also provides increased flexibility for service provided by its regional network partners and the renewal of the fleet at low-cost subsidiary Rouge.

Talks began in June after the airline approached the union to renew a five-year retroactive contract imposed by an arbitrator in 2012.

The contract was set to expire in April 2016.

The airline will now turn its efforts on reaching collective agreements next year with other unions representing flight attendants, mechanics, call centre and airport workers.

Air Canada’s last round of labour talks were among the most acrimonious in its history.

They included a 12-hour illegal walkout by baggage handlers and ground staff that disrupted flights, the
tabling of a back-to-work bill in Parliament and a final-offer selection in which an arbitrator sided with the airline.

The Montreal-based carrier is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline serving more than 180 destinations on five continents.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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