Ottawa, October 14, 2011 –The union representing 6,800 Air Canada flight attendants is calling on the Canada Industrial Relations Board to protect the rights of workers to free collective bargaining, not trample on them.
Representatives from the Canadian Union of Public Employees and Air Canada appeared before the CIRB for preliminary discussions today to deal with Labour Minister Lisa Raitt’s referrals to the board. The referrals delayed the legal strike of flight attendants earlier this week.
“Minister Raitt’s manipulation of the Canada Labour Code and the CIRB is indefensible,” said Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “Today CUPE argued vigorously that the Board cannot set aside the rights afforded to workers by Parliament in the Labour Code. In fact, the responsibility of the Board is to uphold those rights irrespective of the Labour Minister’s referrals. Those rights include workers’ right to collectively bargain and strike, despite the Labour Minister’s blatant attempt to take them away.”
The union pressed the CIRB to let bargaining continue between the two parties.
“Our goal remains the same. We want a fair collective agreement for flight attendants that recognizes the sacrifices they have made over the past decade, and achieves fair wages and working conditions,” said Moist.
The Air Canada Component of CUPE flight attendants have been in negotiations with the airline to renew their collective agreement since April 2011. On Oct. 12, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt referred the dispute to the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
“While we followed the law and stopped our legal strike, CUPE remains opposed to Minister Raitt tactics of using the Board to impede workers rights,” said Moist. “We will continue to examine all of our options to oppose this kind of tactic.”
For more information:
Greg Taylor, CUPE Communications, 613-818-0067 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pierre Ducasse, CUPE Communications, 613-852-1494 (email@example.com)