TORONTO The union representing Air Canada flight attendants has rejected a call from the airlines new financial backers to cut pension benefits and create a two-tier pension plan.
In a meeting with officials from Trinity Time Investments yesterday, union and retiree representatives learned the airlines new investors want to cut benefits by shifting the plan to a defined contribution plan, raising the age for early retirement and increasing premiums. Under their proposals, new hires would receive fewer benefits.
This is a non-starter, says Pamela Sachs, president of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. We just signed a new collective agreement last May that protects our hard-won pension rights and we will not sell our members short.
Pointing out that Trinity has no legal status in this process, the unions have called for a meeting with Air Canada management. Our deal is with the employer, not with Trinity, says Sachs. Our members gave up a lot over the years to secure a good pension plan. They are our deferred wages and we wont allow anyone to take them away from us.
Noting that workers at Stelco and other companies are facing similar threats, CUPE National President Paul Moist is calling for action to protect workers pensions when companies are being restructured.
We need to send a clear signal to investors, some of whom are looking to make a quick buck from companies facing bankruptcy, that our pensions are not booty to be looted, says Moist. Our pensions represent the product of our sweat and tears and we will do whatever we have to protect them.
Air Canada management has floated the idea of a two-tier pension plan before and our members are clear they oppose it, says Sachs. When the airlines new backers are making senior managers multi-millionaires, they shouldnt be asking hard-working employees to face a retirement of poverty.
For further information, contact:
Alejandra Bravo, Air Canada Component
Robert Fox, CUPE Communications