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Airline flight attendants, who are mostly women, are stunned by a tribunal ruling that quashes a pay equity bid for them at Air Canada and Canadian. The attendants earn less than maintenance, technical and crew workers who are mostly men.

“This is not just a blow to Canadian women but to women who belong to predominantly female labour unions,” said Denise Hill, president of the union for Air Canada and Canadian flight attendants. The union will appeal the decision of the human rights tribunal, says Hill.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission, where the Canadian Union of Public Employees Airline Division filed its complaint, also expressed disappointment at the tribunal decision. The union alleged that flight attendants are underpaid when compared with other male-dominated groups in the airline industry.

The commission tribunal accepted that the flight attendants have been unable to achieve pay equity through collective bargaining, because the Airlines have failed to respond.. Yet the tribunal insisted that flight attendants, pilots, maintenance and technical employees work in d0069fferent establishments’ for the purpose of the pay equity provision of the Human Rights Act.

“This is such a restrictive legal interpretation that it begs to be challenged,” said Hill. “If we were in the same union with other crew members we could compare salaries says the tribunal. Because we had to form our own union to ensure women’s rights, we’re being punished 0061006e0064 discriminated against.”