Canadian Minister of Labor Lisa Raitt on Thursday moved to block a work stoppage at Air Canada after the airline threatened to lock out its pilots on Monday, two days after its largest union issued a strike notice with the same deadline.
Raitt said she is sending the dispute between the airline and both the Air Canada Pilots Association and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board. The action prevents a strike or a lockout at the country’s largest airline.
Air Canada said it had hoped its “very fair” offer to preserve pilots’ compensation and benefits would be accepted by the 3,000-member pilots union, but since it was rejected, the airline now had no choice but to take action.
“We need to bring closure to the ongoing climate of labor uncertainty at Air Canada which is affecting our customers, destabilizing the company and our operations, and damaging the Air Canada brand,” Air Canada executive vice president and chief operating officer Duncan Dee said in a statement.
Air Canada’s notice to its pilots comes two days after the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union issued a notice saying it intended to strike on Monday at midnight unless a new contract was signed by then. The union represents about 8,600 mechanics, baggage handlers and cargo agents at Air Canada.
Raitt, who has intervened in the past to prevent strikes in previous disputes at the airline, last month imposed a six-month mediation process after the airline’s pilots voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike. The threat of a lockout comes less than a month into that six-month mediation process.
An earlier two-month effort by a representative of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service was unable to bring the two sides together.
The union said on Thursday that the airline pulled “a dramatic U-turn” on Wednesday.
“After committing to a federal mediation process that was to last up to 180 days, the corporation instead chose to table what it termed its ‘final’ offer only 23 days into the process, without any serious effort to bridge our differences by negotiating in good faith,” union president Captain Paul Strachan said.
At dispute are wages and a sizable pension deficit, which the pilots union said Air Canada had not dealt with, despite the sale of US$2.02 billion in assets.
Air Canada’s offer on Thursday was for a five-year agreement with wage increases of 2 percent in each of the first three years and 3 percent in the final two years.
However, the union said the recent offer demands even more concessions from pilots.
“It is ridiculous that the corporation continues to focus on squeezing a group of professionals whose compensation represents only about 4 percent of revenue,” Strachan said.
For the machinists union, pension reform, wages, scheduling night shifts, mandatory overtime and the role of part-time staff are among the key issues, according to union members.
In its financial report issued last month, Air Canada said it lost US$60.5 million in the fourth quarter of last year and US$251 million for the year.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and