Aug 15, 2011

Air Transat deal proves ‘anything is possible’

MONTREAL—Air Transat flight attendants have ratified a new collective agreement crediting a united front during negotiations. CUPE Air Transat Component members voted 65 per cent in favour of a five-year agreement retroactive to November 1, 2010.

The flight attendants refused to accept concessions at the table and fought for and won their major bargaining goals, including substantial retirement plan improvements and wage increases (lump sum and recurring increases) totaling 12 per cent over five years. In June, the Air Transat flight attendants had rejected the employer’s “final” offer and voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike mandate.

The new agreement bolsters the defined benefit retirement plan and employee and employer contributions to the Multi-Sector Pension Plan (MSPP) will both improve to 5 per cent from 2 per cent. The bargaining committee reports it is ecstatic with the settlement:

“A pension! It is unbelievable! We have achieved the opposite of what the other employers and sectors are doing, we increased our pension and did not abolish it! It goes to show us all that when we are united and together, anything is possible. This was a good experience and hopefully, the solidarity will remain within our Union for the next five years and the next bargaining sessions to come! Unity makes us strong and we have proven it!”

Vancouver Local 4078 president Julie Roberts said the local is relieved to have a settlement and is now looking forward to implementing the new language. She added that the pension improvements have been especially well-received and that “while it was the company that first insisted on the five-year term, the union is fine with it given the current economic uncertainty.”

CUPE‘s Air Transat flight attendants are emergency specialists whose primary role is to ensure passenger safety. They are divided into three local unions corresponding to their three bases: CUPE 4041 (722 members in Montreal-YUL), CUPE 4047 (approximately 570 in Toronto-YYZ) and CUPE 4078 (226 in Vancouver-YVR). The Air Transat Component oversees these three local unions. CUPE represents nearly 9,500 members in airlines, including Air Canada, Calm Air, Canadian North, CanJet Airlines, Cathay Pacific and First Air.

View press release.

COPE 491