Job security key issue in Air Canada labor talks

Fri Jul 3, 2009 2:38pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Susan Taylor

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Air Canada's biggest union may push for additional job security in labor talks with the debt-heavy airline and a federally appointed mediator on Friday, but it doesn't expect a quick resolution.

Senior negotiators from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, whose members narrowly rejected a 21-month deal with the carrier this week, are meeting with Canada's biggest airline and mediator James Farley, a union spokesman said.

Mechanics are worried their aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul work will be transferred to Aveos Fleet Performance Inc in El Salvador, a sister company previously called Air Canada Technical Services that was spun off in 2007.

"What these guys are afraid of is that the work is going to go to this company called Aveos," said IAMAW spokesman Bill Trbovich.

"As it stands now, Aveos does not have the capability to do that work, but there's nothing stopping them from building a hangar to do that. And what we want is assurances that they're not going to take that work out of the country."

Air Canada parent ACE Aviation owns a 27.8 percent stake in privately held Aveos, which has 1,400 staff in El Salvador and 3,300 in Canada.

The union may also push for job security beyond 2011, or the 21-month term in the current contract, he said.

Union support is critical for the cash-strapped airline to gain federal approval for a temporary freeze on pension funding and C$600 million ($517 million) in short-term loans.   Continued...

<p>Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>