Air Canada pilots picket at Montreal’s Trudeau airport, demanding better pay

Air Canada pilots joined by supporting pilots from other airlines picketed at the Montreal International Airport Monday morning, demanding better wages and benefits from their employer.

The pilots are putting pressure on Air Canada with what they’re calling an “informational picket” as their bargaining process continues.

Pilots also picketed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport last month.

Earlier this year the union representing some 5,000 Air Canada pilots triggered an option to launch negotiations around a new collective agreement.

Air Canada pilots have received a two per cent pay hike each year since 2014.

Bargaining agreements elsewhere in Canada and the United States have led to big pay increases for pilots.

In May, some 1,800 pilots at WestJet and budget subsidiary Swoop settled on a tentative deal that secured a 24 per cent wage increase over four years.

And between March and September, pilots at Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines secured agreements that included four-year pay hikes ranging from 34 per cent to 40 per cent.

“While Air Canada is expected to announce strong results on Monday, operationally, the airline is still falling short,” said Charlene Hudy, chair of the Air Canada master executive council. “With cancelled and delayed flights being a frequent occurrence, no one understands that better than our pilots and our passengers.

“Air Canada’s future success, both financially and operationally, will require the airline to recognize the value of its pilots and take steps to attract and retain experienced pilots in the flight deck to help the airline succeed. It’s vital that we can retain our pilots, including those who are French speaking to help uplift the bilingual culture.”

Monday’s picket at Montreal airport lasted from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Air Canada pilots joined the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) earlier this year.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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