Air Transat flight attendants have agreed to the company’s proposed cost reduction plan. In a secret electronic vote, 66% of the flight attendants accepted measures worth approximately $9 million a year. At 72%, turnout was particularly high.
The key element of the plan stipulates that the number of attendants on the A330 will be reduced from 11 to 10. The savings thus realized will help enable Air Transat to develop a narrow-body fleet of Boeing 737s, which the union believes will allow the company to retain more jobs in the long run.
“In recent months, we have studied the different scenarios very closely. The flight attendants took part in a number of information sessions,” noted Peter Buzzell, president of the Air Transat Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“Air Transat’s position in the industry has been somewhat precarious for some time. For the union members, this means making hard choices. We have accepted a sacrifice that gives the company an opportunity to grow and maintain jobs in the long term. Our concern for such a balance influenced our decision,” said the union leader.
Air Transat flight attendants are emergency specialists whose primary role is to ensure passenger safety. Approximately 1750 in total, they are divided into three local unions corresponding to their three bases: CUPE 4041 (Montreal-YUL), CUPE 4047 (Toronto-YYZ) and CUPE 4078 (Vancouver-YVR). The Air Transat Component oversees these three local unions.
CUPE is Canada’s largest airline union. In addition to its Air Transat members, CUPE represents nearly 10,000 flight attendants at carriers including Air Canada, Sunwing, CanJet, Calm Air, Canadian North, First Air and Cathay Pacific, as well as ground agents at Porter Airlines in Ottawa.