Air Canada’s union representing striking sales and customer service agents stated it is determined to reach a contract agreement with the carrier before the federal government forces employees back to work (Reuters/Xinhua, 15-Jun-2011). Talks between Air Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) were continuing in Toronto on 15-Jun-2011 as flight delays hit airports around the country on the second day of the strike. Canadian Labour Minster Lisa Raitt gave a 48-hour notice on 14-Jun-2011 of a bill to force the 3800 striking workers back to work, however, it may take seven or eight days for legislation to pass. The president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Dave Coles, has criticised Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ms Raitt for its notice. Mr Coles stated to the ministers that he finds it “nothing short of incredible that after one day of strike activity at Air Canada, you have declared a national economic crisis and announced the government’s intent to legislate against the democratic right of workers to strike”.
The strike has not stopped Air Canada services, however, airports across the country have been jammed with angry passengers as management handles ticket sales and luggage. Flights at key airports were delayed early on 15-Jun-2011. [more - Continuing Air Service for Passengers Act]
CAW: “We don’t think that the government should be interfering in the collective bargaining process. We are determined to come to some sort of agreement before that happens.” Spokesperson Shannon Devine. Source: Reuters, 15-Jun-2011.