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CUPE’s Airline Division will appeal a human rights tribunal ruling that quashes pay equity for flight attendants at Air Canada and Canadian Airlines.

“This is a blow to Canadian women who belong to predominantly female labour unions,” said Division president Denise Hill. The tribunal dismissed the complaint, filed by the union and the Human Rights Commission, that flight attendants are underpaid when compared with maintenance, technical and crew workers who are mostly men.

The tribunal ruled that flight attendants, pilots, maintenance and technical employees work in ‘different establishments’ for the purpose of the pay equity provision of the Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Commission said it was disappointed by the ruling and is also considering an appeal.

“If we were in the same union with other crew members we could compare salaries, according to the tribunal,” said Hill, “but because we had to form our own union to ensure women’s rights, we’re being punished - and discriminated against.”