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CUPEs Air Canada component reached a tentative settlement with the company on July 8, minutes after the midnight strike deadline had passed. The agreement provides for improved retirement income for flight attendants, safer and healthier working conditions and a wage increase of 5, 4 and 3 per cent over three years.

This is a good contract for our 5,000 members, for the company and for the future of labour relations, said Pamela Sachs, president of the Air Canada component.

As negotiations came down to the wire, the company was forced to deal seriously with the flight attendants concerns for improved pensions and withdraw its demands for concessions.

The agreement provides that a flight attendant aged 55 with 25 years service who is earning $40,000 at retirement will receive an increased lifetime pension of about $3,000 more per year. As well, theres a commitment to increase the pension plan benefit formula and set up a task force to study further improvements.

In addition, there were improvements to benefits and important gains in the area of health and safety, including increased crew rest on layovers.

This round of bargaining centred on dignity and respect for our members, said Sachs. This has been a long, hard struggle. Because of the tremendous strength of our members in fighting the good fight together, we were successful in reaching a fair and just contract.