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The struggle for pay equity in CUPEs airline division has been rerouted again this time to the Federal Court of Canada.

Flight attendants at Air Canada and Canadian are fighting a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that dismissed the divisions pay equity bid.

The flight attendants, mostly women, complained to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in the early 90s, arguing they earn significantly less than other male-dominated groups in the airline industry and take longer to reach their maximum salary than male workers.

The actual pay equity question has yet to be heard, thanks to years of management stalling tactics. The companies argued flight attendants shouldnt be able to compare wages with their male co-workers since they work in different establishments, or workplaces.

In late 1998 the tribunal ruled that flight attendants, pilots, maintenance and technical employees work in different workplaces, for the purpose of the pay equity provision of the Human Rights Act.

The tribunal acknowledged that collective bargaining hasnt helped flight attendants achieve pay equity, because the companies refuse to respond.

The tribunal says if we were in the same union with the other crew, we could compare salaries. Because we formed our own union to ensure womens rights, were being punished and discriminated against, said division president Denise Hill.

The Human Rights Commission has also appealed the tribunal decision. Both the division and the commission appeared before the Court to make their arguments at the end of May.