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TORONTO Unions representing workers at Air Canada have told the airlines new backers that pension rollbacks are a non-starter even if that means the airline has to start again to find new investors.

If Trinity wont respect the commitments Air Canada made with its unions, then were back to zero and the equity selection process has been a failure, said Pamela Sachs, president of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Its scandalous that the monitor and the companys board have failed in their duties by permitting this process to continue for months knowing full well a pension rollback would not fly. They must be held responsible for leaving Air Canada with no equity investor.

Trinity Times Investment, a Hong-Kong based company owned by Victor Li, has been chosen by the airline and the court-appointed monitor to aid the ailing company by providing $650 million in equity. Last week, the airlines unions were told by Trinity that its backing was contingent on cuts to pension benefits and introduction of a two-tier pension plan.

Air Canadas unions would never have agreed to concessions totaling $1.1 billion every year for six years without an explicit agreement by the company that pensions would be protected, said Sachs. All were saying is a deal is a deal.

CUPEs National President Paul Moist called for federal action to protect workers pensions when corporations are being restructured. Pension funds belong to workers who set aside their wages over the years to support their retirement, said Moist. If you think just because youve provided some equity investment, you can then dictate the terms of workers pensions, youre dead wrong.

Weve seen it at Stelco, now we are seeing it at Air Canada companies that think our pension plans are at their mercy. Were saying to the federal government urgent action is needed to protect the pensions of Canadian workers. And were saying the future of Canadas national airline shouldnt be left to the markets.


For further information visit cupe.ca or contact:

Alejandra Bravo (416) 305-8095