Air Canada pilots cancel vote on tentative deal

Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:19pm EDT
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By Susan Taylor

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Air Canada Inc's main pilots' union has canceled a vote set to begin on Friday on a tentative labor agreement with the country's largest airline, after parts of the proposed deal proved "controversial" to pilots.

The Air Canada Pilots Association said its master executive council will meet April 19 to consider alternatives after its negotiating team held a series of membership meetings this week to explain the tentative agreement.

The association, which represents more than 3,000 pilots and had planned to conclude voting April 27, said it would not provide specific information on the contentious issues in the pact.

National Bank Financial analyst Cameron Doerksen said the deal proposed a 12 percent wage hike over four years and would put new hires in a defined contribution pension plan, versus the current defined benefit plan.

It also proposed the creation of a new low-cost leisure subsidiary, "crewed by lower cost employees", Doerksen wrote in a note on Thursday, adding there was a reasonable likelihood the contract would be rejected.

PI Financial analyst Chris Murray said the scrapped vote is not overly worrisome, nor a harbinger for the carrier's other labor talks.

"It's certainly not a good situation ... but this is not the end of the process by far," he said.

"Independent of the new contracts, and all the stuff around that, it's business as usual: operations continue, the planes are going to fly, the customers are going to be served."   Continued...