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Flight attendants at Air Canada celebrated the New Year with a new contract that improves wages, pensions and job security.

This is the first collective agreement to cover all 8,300 flight attendants at the mainline carrier since it merged with Canadian Airlines in 2000.

Air Canada flight attendants have won major gains in wages, job security, benefits and pensions, said CUPE National President Judy Darcy. Equally important, the contract goes some distance in recognizing their vital role as safety professionals and the public face of the airline.

The new contract provides wage increases of 10 per cent over its 44-month term, allowing negotiations to reopen should other unions negotiate further increases. The agreement also strengthens job security.

The last few years have been extremely stressful for flight attendants. The merger, the tragedy of September 11 and the dip in business travel have all threatened job security, said Darcy. This agreement guarantees there will be no involuntary layoffs, base closures or relocations.

Flight attendants at Air Transat also approved a new agreement. The 1,100 flight attendants, based in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, won improvements in wages, benefits and working conditions.