Air Canada Strike Ends

Posted June 16th, 2011 at 7:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Air Canada's striking ticket and customer service agents tentatively agreed on a contract Thursday, shortly after the federal government threatened legislation to force the employees back to work.

The deal will include wage increases and preserve most of the benefits in their pension plans. Union members must still vote to confirm the deal.

One outstanding issue remains — the question of pension benefits for new hires — which will be sent to arbitration for resolution. Union leader Ken Lewenza told reporters it was not in the best interest of union members to maintain the strike over benefits for future employees.

Lewenza criticized the government's attempts to force an end to the strike, calling it an “assault on workers.” He said it was unnecessary and did not impact the speed of the negotiations. Government officials said the strike risked causing severe economic consequences.

The 3,800 airline employees are set to head back to work Friday.

Air Canada dispatched 1,700 managers to handle ticketing and check-in duties across the country. Customer calls have been diverted to the United States.