Air Transat Pilots Send A Signal


Air Transat’s pilots have given their union a mandate for a strike.

The pilots voted in favour of authorizing a legal strike yesterday, with 96% of the 524 eligible pilots – who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) – taking part in the ballot and 97% of those voting in favour of withdrawing services if required.

Capt. Patrice Roy, chairman of Air Transat’s ALPA Master Executive Council, said: “These results serve as a notice to the company that our pilots are united and stand firm behind our goal of achieving a fair and equitable contract. The authorization comes after a year of negotiations for a new pilot contract and follows the expiration of the current collective agreement on April 30, 2015.

In December, the pilot’s group noted that, the distance between the parties on many of the demands led the pilots to seek intervention from Canada’sMinister of Labour, saying that management’s proposal would keep Air Transat’s pilots below the industry standard for the term of the agreement.

Capt. Roy commented: “Our pilots are seeking a contract that recognizes their contribution to the success of an airline that they have not only helped to build but also played a key role in ensuring its continuing longevity when the airline experienced financial difficulties a few years ago.”

However, Capt. Roy also pointed out that a strike mandate does not necessarily constitute a decision but levels the balance of power at the bargaining table and protects Canada’s pilots under the law.

Once the Minister of Labour received the pilots’ official request for conciliation, a conciliation officer was appointed, and a 60-day conciliation period commenced.

“We want to negotiate,” Capt. Roy continued. “We’re 100% ready to do everything the law allows to bring parity for our roles within the industry. A strike is never the ideal path to reaching agreement, but our pilots have demonstrated that they realize it may be necessary.”

The conciliation period ends on Feb. 7, 2016, and cannot be extended without the consent of both ALPA and Air Transat A.T. Once conciliation ends, a 21-day cooling-off period begins, at which point both parties will gain the right to strike or lockout.

“By taking this action, Air Transat pilots are signaling that their management must stop stalling and finalize a contract that addresses their legitimate needs,” said Capt. Roy.

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