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MONTREAL ­– The union representing some 1,400 Air Transat flight attendants today asked the Federal Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliator to assist in ongoing negotiations. The union representatives noted that, after 24 bargaining sessions since September 2010, the employer is seeking major concessions from the flight attendants. Fifteen days after today’s request, a 60-day conciliation period will begin. If no agreement is reached, this period will be followed by another 21 days, after which the two parties may resort to strikes or lockouts.

Our employer, Transat AT, had an excellent year in 2010.They realized profits of $52.4 million in the quarter from August 1 to October 31, and $20.9 million in the preceding quarter. In a context where the company is healthy, it is unclear why the flight attendants should tighten their belts,” said Nathalie Stringer, president of the Air Transat Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Throughout the negotiations, the union committee kept moving towards a satisfactory agreement for both parties. Unfortunately, the employer is asking for an increase in the number of hours on duty per day, as well as new wage levels that severely penalize young flight attendants. This is simply not acceptable for our members,” added Ms. Stringer.

Mostly women, the Air Transat flight attendants are emergency specialists whose primary role is to ensure passenger safety. They have been without a contract since October 31, 2010. They are divided into three local unions corresponding to their three bases:CUPE 4041 (690 members in Montreal-YUL), CUPE 4047 (490 in Toronto-YYZ) and CUPE 4078 (228 in Vancouver-YVR). The Air Transat Component oversees these three local unions.

In total, CUPE represents nearly 9,500 members in airlines, including Air Canada, Calm Air, Canadian North, CanJet Airlines, Cathay Pacific and First Air.

For more information:            

Nathalie Stringer
President, Air Transat Component
514-235-2250 (cell)

Sébastien Goulet
CUPE Communications
438-882-3756 (cell)