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Labour Minister Puts a Stop to Air Canada Strike

March Break travelers can rest easy knowing their travel plans will not be disrupted by an Air Canada Strike that was scheduled to begin on Monday. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt warded off the strike by referring two labor disputes to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board. This referral stops both the strike action, which Air Canada’s largest union announced would commence on Monday, and Air Canada’s threatened lockout of their pilots.

Air Canada expects to transport 100,000 passengers a day over the coming two weeks. Ontario and Nova Scotia have their March Break next week and British Columbia has theirs the following week. However, the travel plans of thousands of people were put on the brink of disaster last Thursday when Air Canada served notice that they would lockout 3000 pilots if their latest offer was not accepted. On the same day the airline’s largest union gave strike notice for Monday, which would take 8600 ground workers off the job and onto the picket line.

Raitt stepped in late Thursday afternoon and requested the labour board to determine what activities Air Canada is required to maintain for the health and safety of passengers. However, despite her reasoning, experts in the industry say that her move was nothing more than a legal tactic to stall any strike or lockout action. Raitt used the same reasoning as she used last fall when stopping a strike by flight attendants, that the government is concerned about the effects of the strike and lockout action on the national economy and on the Canadian traveling public.

President of the Air Canada Pilots Association, Captain Paul Strachan, said that Raitt has a track record for being involved in Air Canada disputes with their unions. He said it definitely affects their ability to bargain with one another. Dave Ritchie, Canadian general vice-president for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, asked Raitt to stay out of this one. However, for those Canadians planning to travel on their March Break, the news can only be happy.

See the original Google News article for more details.

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