Aviation News

June 15, 2011

Government Could Force End to Air Canada Strike, Warns Canadian Labor Minister

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By: BNO News
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The government of Canada on Tuesday announced that it could end the Air Canada strike by Thursday if the airline and its employees on strike are unable to reach a new contract agreement.

Air Canada Airbus A319 C-GAPY at Fort Lauderdale

Air Canada Airbus A319 (C-GAPY) at Fort Lauderdale. (Photo by Mark Lawrence)

Canadian Labor Minister Lisa Raitt took initial steps to enforce a back-to-work legislation within the next 48 hours if both parties are unable to reach an agreement, CBC News reported.

“We will put on notice tonight legislation to ensure continuing air service for passengers,” Raitt said Tuesday in the House of Commons, as the legislation could be enforced as soon as Thursday.

On Tuesday, around 3,800 employees belonging to Air Canada’s customer service and sales staff went on strike at 12:01 a.m. local time in an effort to reach a new contract with better pension plans and salaries. Those striking are members of the Canadian Auto Workers union.

Air Canada, which has stated that it will continue operating its flight schedule completely, reportedly shifted around 1,700 of its managers to replace employees. However, union members believe the solution is temporary and will not be sufficient to allow the airline continue operating without flight delays and cancellations.

While Raitt expressed hope both sides could reach an agreement soon, she underlined that when the situation begins to affect Canadian nationals and the country’s economy, it becomes the government’s duty to step in.