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Air Canada's flight attendants welcome new jobs, concerned about low cost carrier

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sep 21, 2012) - The union representing Air Canada flight attendants reacted with concern over talk of a new low-cost carrier announced yesterday.

"Once again, we are finding out about Air Canada''s business plans through the media instead of from them," said Lesley Swann, Vice President of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. "This company must treat us with respect and as partners in the success of the company, and this kind of tactic flies in the face of that approach."

The union has asked to meet with the employer as soon as possible to learn the full details about what is being proposed by the company.

"We share the company''s desire to ensure the long term viability of Air Canada and we are pleased at the prospect of growth and new jobs at the company," said Swann. "Job security at the mainline carrier is our number one priority. Air Canada must make a commitment to its existing workers that it will not hire low paid, entry level employees at their expense. This commitment cannot only extend to 2013 but well into the future. Air Canada''s mainline brand must continue to grow and prosper alongside its new low cost venture".

New flight attendants make as little as $18,500 a year and average salaries are only $41,000 a year. The union is concerned about any measures that drive wages, benefits and pension coverage down. "We want to be sure that any new employees at the low cost carrier are treated fairly with respect to wages and pensions," said Swann.

The union has requested a meeting with Air Canada management to discuss their concerns and is waiting for a response.