North America

Air Transat flight attendants reject a tentative agreement

Air Transat A330
Tis Meyer/

Today, the Air Transat flight attendants voted 93.2% to reject the tentative agreement reached on June 6 with the employer to renew their collective agreement.

Their union, the Air Transat Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), proposes that the parties return immediately to the negotiation table.

If no new agreement is reached by July 8 at 11:59pm, the union will initiate pressure tactics that might include a strike.

On June 1(st), flight attendants voted 98.5% in favour of a strike mandate.

“Air Transat management is requesting a substantial increase in our workload. In the past, we have agreed to make several concessions to help the company. Now that Air Transat is doing better, we want to be treated fairly,” said Martyn Smith, president of the Air Transat Component of CUPE.

The previous collective agreement ended on October 31(st), 2015. The negotiation process started in September 2015. Last March, while the negotiations were in deadlock, the union requested the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. A federal mediator is still in charge of the file.

“We tabled a reasonable agreement that received the approval of the union executive, and we were confident that a majority of our flight attendants would also be persuaded that it was a good deal. We are therefore disappointed that this has not proved to be the case. We will be heading back to the bargaining table beginning this weekend to quickly find common ground,” said Jean-François Lemay, President and General Manager, Air Transat, adding that the air carrier has consistently maintained positive, constructive labour relations with its personnel for nearly 30 years.

The 1750 cabin crew members come under CUPE locals 4041 in Montreal, 4047 in Toronto and 4078 in Vancouver. These local unions are part of a national structure, the Air Transat Component of CUPE.

CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over 635,000 members across the country. Its airline division represents approximately 10,000 members in seven airlines: Air Canada (including the low-cost carrier rouge), Air Transat, Sunwing, Cathay Pacific, Calm Air, First Air and Canadian North.

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