Air Canada passengers are facing the prospect of travel disruption, after 65% of voting cabin crew union members rejected a tentative labour deal reached with the airline last month and gave notice to strike on Thursday (12:01 EDT).
In a news statement, the airline said it would operate a partial schedule, including Air Canada Express flights operated by regional partner airlines, including Jazz Air and Sky Regional Airlines.
It is the second time members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents some 6,800 cabin crew at the airline, have voted against ratifying a tentative deal reached with the airline.
Duncan Dee, Air Canada’s executive vice president and chief operating officer said in a statement: “We are perplexed and disappointed that two tentative agreements negotiated in good faith with and unanimously recommended by the democratically elected representatives of our flight attendants have failed to be ratified.”
He added the airline is “hopeful” that disruption can be avoided.
The long-running dispute centres around cabin crew wages, pensions, working conditions and new hires.
Last month, the Canadian government said it would step in and introduce back-to-work legislation in the event of a strike, adding that a work stoppage would damage Canada’s already “fragile economy”.
Jeff Taylor, president of CUPE’s branch for Air Canada flight attendants, said: “We ask the federal government, in the strongest possible terms, to respect our right to collective bargaining and not intervene unilaterally in this dispute.”
Customers who have already bought tickets for travel in the next six days will be able to change their travel dates free of charge until December 15, the airline said.