Ottawa, October 12, 2011 –The union representing 6,800 Air Canada flight attendants is condemning the federal Conservative government’s unwarranted attack on their collective bargaining rights. Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, is calling for Labour Minister Lisa Raitt to respect the collective bargaining process and the rights of CUPE members to conduct a legal strike.
“Minister Raitt’s attempt to use the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to circumvent the rights of our members is outrageous,” says Moist. “Her rationale for this is disingenuous and the use of the Canada Labour Code and the CIRB in this way is indefensible. These disgraceful tactics can be seen as nothing else but an outright attack on the rights of every worker in Canada.”
Flight attendants rejected a tentative agreement with Air Canada in a vote concluded on Sunday, and issued a strike notice to the airline.
The union is ready to return to the bargaining table with Air Canada management towards a fair collective agreement that will keep its members and the Canadian public flying. Air Canada has yet to respond.
“The first excuse from the federal government for its unnecessary intervention was a supposed fear of harm to the Canadian economy. Now, out of the blue, Minister Raitt suspects a strike will endanger the health and safety of Canadians,” says Moist. “These excuses strain the credibility of the Harper Conservatives, and are a transparent attack on flight attendants and every other worker in Canada.”
CUPE will continue to defend the right of its members to free collective bargaining. “If Minister Raitt attempts to go through with this misuse of the CIRB, CUPE will explore all avenues to challenge this abuse of Ministerial discretion,” concluded Moist.
Earlier today the Air Canada Component of CUPE reiterated its intention to strike. Flight attendants are preparing to walk off the job at 12:01 am, Thursday, October 13, despite media statements by the Minister of Labour and the airline attempting to block their right to strike.