Air Canada (AC.TO) pilots have terminated a decade-long contract framework, opening the door for “full bargaining this summer,” according to a note from their union leadership seen by Reuters on Monday.
Air Canada pilots have previously expressed a desire for “historic” wage increases in order to close the pay disparity with their U.S. counterparts.
Their counterparts at Onex Corp’s (ONEX.TO) WestJet Airlines have reached a tentative agreement for a 24% hourly wage increase over four years, in addition to other pay and benefits.
Since 2014, the approximately 4,500 pilots at Canada’s largest airline have received an annual compensation increase of 2%.
Monday was the deadline for the union to utilize an escape clause that would allow for negotiations this year. The agreement is now in effect until September 29, 2023, but its provisions will continue to apply beyond that date.
“We were willing to meet with the company if they wanted to present us with a substantial proposal that would advance the goals of our membership,” the letter stated, adding that Air Canada did not initiate dialogue.
The Air Canada pilots group, which joined the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) this month, indicated in a separate document that it anticipates receiving a notice to bargain in early June.
Air Canada, based in Montreal, said in an emailed statement, “Our pilots may elect to exercise the option available to them to initiate negotiations for a new collective agreement.”
The nine-year-old agreement in effect with our pilots attests to the positive nature of our relationship.
In a recent tentative agreement with American Airlines (AAL.O) and a separate agreement with Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), U.S. pilots will receive a 34% pay raise over four years.