Pilots say AC has abandoned talks

The president of the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) expressed the “frustration” of ACPA members that “their airline is abandoning the effort to negotiate a new contract with the assistance of a federal conciliator.” In a blunt statement, captain Paul Strachan said that: “This is a clear attempt by Air Canada to engineer a conflict without making a serious effort to negotiate a settlement.” ACPA’s president continued: “Air Canada failed to table a proposal within the 60-day conciliation process that it requested from the federal government. Even after we agreed to extend conciliation, Air Canada put down a last-minute offer and is now abandoning the process before serious negotiations can take place.” In its statement, ACPA notes that under the Canada Labour Code, federal conciliation expires after 60 days, unless both parties agree to extend the process. Both the pilots and the federal conciliator asked Air Canada to continue the process, but the airline refused. Said captain Strachan: “It’s obvious that the airline’s executives want to run out the legislated time clock so they can foist a fake crisis on the federal government, in the hope that Ottawa will impose arbitration. The federal government should be as angry as our pilots that Air Canada executives are playing these games. The Minister of Labour should tell Air Canada to get back to the bargaining table with a genuine proposal aimed at a fair settlement.” ACPA pointed out that under federal law, the pilots and Air Canada now enter a 21-day “cooling off” period, before either party can take any further action that could escalate the situation. Captain Strachan underlined the pilots’ willingness to continue bargaining during this period, commenting: “Air Canada pilots remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement. We are willing to meet with the company, with or without the assistance of the federal government, to continue working towards a new agreement. We have been waiting more than a decade for this opportunity and have no intention of walking away from the bargaining table.” In May of 2011, Air Canada pilots rejected a tentative agreement by a two-to-one margin and have continued to work under the terms of their existing collective agreement which expired at the end of March 2011. ACPA represents the 3,000 pilots who operate AC’s mainline fleet. Go to for more.