Flight attendents walking through an airport CUPE has announced that its 2,100 flight attendant members at Air Transat have a strike mandate. It was approved during general meetings by a nearly unanimous vote of 99.8%, by far the highest tally in the history of the Air Transat Component of CUPE.

The vote reflects the flight attendants’ exceptionally high level of dissatisfaction with their working conditions, particularly with wages and purchasing power. Following a dip during the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall outlook for the industry is once again extremely positive.

“Over the past 15 years, our members have had to make significant sacrifices during challenging times for the industry. Now, faced with the dizzying rise in the cost of living and the industry’s favourable prospects, they are ready to take action. More than 50% of them have been forced to take on a second or even a third job to make ends meet, and their starting salary is only $26,577 per year, explained Dominic Levasseur, president of the Air Transat Component of CUPE.

“The next few weeks of negotiations will be critical. It is still possible to reach a tentative agreement without resorting to a strike, but that option cannot be excluded. The ball is in the employer’s court; they should be aware that our members have high expectations and are extremely motivated,” added Levasseur.

The collective agreement for these flight attendants based at airports in Montreal, YUL, and Toronto, YYZ, expired on October 31, 2022. Negotiations began officially on April 27, 2023. To date, there have been 33 negotiation sessions. Under the Canada Labour Code, a strike relating to this matter would be legal as of January 3, 2024. In the event of a strike, it should be anticipated that all flights will be canceled.

The issue of unpaid work is also a subject of the current negotiations. For more about that, visit https://unpaidworkwontfly.ca