HEADS UP

Air Canada Pilots to Demonstrate at YYZ Friday, 29SEP

Toronto Pearson International Airport

Air Canada pilots are set to demonstrate at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday, 29SEP, The Globe reports, seeking to publicly pressure the airline into agreeing to improved pay and working conditions, as they renegotiate their collective agreement.

Pilots from other airlines are reportedly expected to join the demonstration, reinforcing demands for a new contract, succeeding the one established nine years prior that included annual raises for AC pilot of around 2%.

5,000 Air Canada pilots are represented by the world's largest pilots' union, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which also represents pilots at WestJet and Lynx, and in all of its recent negotiations, has aimed to diminish the wage disparity with the Canadians' American counterparts.

The union has scored big wins for Canadian pilots recently, with an historic deal for WestJet Group pilots that will see them with a 24% pay raise over 4 years, as Open Jaw has reported.

Air Canada pilots voted earlier this year to join ALPA  and end their 10-year labour agreement a year early to begin negotiations.  On behalf of Air Canada's pilots, ALPA has been in discussions with Air Canada since JUN.

The negotiations and demonstrations come against a backdrop of chronic pilot shortages affecting Canadian aviation. Canadian pilots have been accepting positions with U.S. carriers due to a pandemic-induced labor shortage and higher wages, prompting Air Canada to significantly reduce its schedule, especially in Western Canada.

Air Canada spokesperson, Peter Fitzpatrick, said he considers Friday’s picket a regular phase of the negotiation process and stated that the airline continues productive discussions with the union and is maintaining regular operations.

However, the upcoming demonstration emphasizes rising tensions within the industry, and may not be the last labour action Canadian pax and advisors will see this year - especially as high holiday season approaches.

Travellers through Pearson Friday are advised to anticipate potential disruptions to traffic into and out of the airport, as well as possible flight delays.

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