Air Canada goes on offensive vs cabin crew union

Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:27pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Air Canada rubbed salt into the wound of its flight attendants' union on Thursday, filing an unfair labor practice complaint just hours after the union was forced by the federal government to cancel a planned strike at the airline.

In a submission to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB), Air Canada accused representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) of bargaining in bad faith during the recent round of contract negotiations.

The airline, Canada's biggest, said representatives of CUPE had portrayed to Air Canada negotiators that they knew what needed to be included in a tentative agreement to win the support of the 6,800 flight attendants.

As a result, Air Canada "revised its position to CUPE's advantage in several key areas", the filing said.

However, CUPE members rejected the deal - the second time they voted down a tentative agreement - and instead issued notice of a strike that was due to start on Thursday, until the federal government stepped in to halt it.

"Air Canada has been seriously compromised in its interests in consequence of CUPE's inaccurate representations," the airline said.

It said it was seeking unspecified damages to compensate it for losses incurred as a result of the union's actions.

Union representatives were not immediately available to comment.

Labor experts said Air Canada's complaint was unlikely to succeed.   Continued...

<p>Air Canada aircraft are seen at Toronto Pearson International Airport, September 20, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>