Canada's Air Transat cabin crew members ratify new contract with airline

An Airbus A330 aircraft of Air Transat airlines takes off in Colomiers near Toulouse·Reuters

(Reuters) -Air Transat said on Monday its cabin crew members had ratified a new agreement with the airline after voting in favor of a recommendation by the Canadian government's mediation body, averting fears of a strike.

Unions in the aerospace, construction, airline and rail industries have pressed over the last two years for higher wages and more benefits amid a tight labor market.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents about 2,100 cabin crew members at Air Transat, had received certain recommendations from the mediators after the union and the airline reached an impasse.

The new contract provides for total compounded increases of 30% over five years, making Transat's cabin crew members the highest paid in the industry in Canada, CUPE said in a statement.

It also provides for removal of the first two salary levels, ensuring that flight attendants with less than three years of seniority will immediately access the third level, which represents a significant increase in salary.

About 63% of flight attendants voted in favor of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service mediators' recommendation, the Canadian leisure carrier said on Monday.

The collective agreement is retroactive to Nov. 1, 2022, and will be valid until Oct. 31, 2027.

Earlier this month, the cabin crew members had rejected a labor deal for the second time.

Cabin crews at carriers in Canada and the United States are demanding to be paid for more of their hours at work - a fundamental change from how the industry currently compensates them by paying largely only when the aircraft is in motion.

(Reporting by Shivansh Tiwary in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Maju Samuel)