Air Transat flight attendants reject tentative agreement, possible strike to follow

Air Transat flight attendants reject tentative agreement, possible strike to follow

The union representing 1,750 Air Transat flight attendants says workers have voted 93% against a tentative agreement reached in early June, setting the stage for potential labour disruptions.

The Air Transat Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling for an immediate resumption of talks.

The president and general manager of the Montreal-based company later said they would be “heading back to the bargaining table beginning this weekend to quickly find common ground.”

Jean-Francois Lemay said the tour and airline operator has tabled a “reasonable agreement’” that had been approved by the union executive and he was confident most flight attendants would be persuaded that it was a good deal.

“We are therefore disappointed that this has not proved to be the case,” Lemay said, adding discussions “are being actively pursued with an eye to reaching an agreement.”

Flight attendants voted almost unanimously on June 1 in favour of a strike mandate, before the tentative agreement was reached. The union said workers will launch pressure tactics, possibly including a strike, if no new deal is reached July 8.

Union president Martyn Smith said the company wants to substantially increase employee workloads.

While onboard crews agreed to concessions in the past, Smith says workers want to be “treated fairly” now that Air Transat is doing better financially.

A federal mediator was appointed when talks deadlocked in March after six months of negotiations. The previous contract expired Oct. 31.

CUPE represents about 10,000 members in seven airlines, including Air Canada, Sunwing and Air Transat.

Lemay said in a statement that Air Transat “has consistently maintained positive, constructive labour relations with its personnel for nearly 30 years.”