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Air Canada Files Unfair Labour Practice Complaint Against CUPE

MONTREAL, Oct. 13, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada said today that it has filed an unfair labour practice against the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing the airline's 6,800 flight attendants.

Air Canada and CUPE have been engaged in collective bargaining under the provisions of the Canada Labour Code (the "Code") since April 2011. Since that time, two tentative agreements were reached with CUPE's bargaining committee on August 1, 2011 and on September 20, 2011, and despite unanimous endorsements by the committee, both tentative agreements were rejected by CUPE membership.

It is Air Canada's position that the last tentative agreement reached on September 20, 2011 was rejected by CUPE membership as a result of CUPE's bad faith conduct during the bargaining process by:

(a)      presenting modified demands at the bargaining table which added costs to their initial proposal and which widened the issues in dispute rather than narrowing them;
(b)      tabling demands that it portrayed to Air Canada as being sufficient to meet its membership's demands;
(c)      representing to Air Canada that it knew what its membership's demands were in order to obtain successful ratification of a new collective agreement; and
(d)      failing to deploy all necessary efforts, as represented to Air Canada, to obtain ratification of the last tentative agreement.

The airline is seeking an order declaring that CUPE failed to bargain in good faith contrary to its obligations under section 50(a) of the Code and seeking damages to compensate Air Canada for losses incurred as a result of CUPE's actions.

On October 12th, Air Canada and CUPE received notice that the Minister of Labour, the Hon. Lisa Raitt, has asked the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB), under Section 87.4 of the Canada Labour Code, to determine the rights and obligations of the employer, the union and the employees to continue the supply of services in the event of a strike. As a result of this CIRB referral, CUPE cannot commence a legal strike at least until this matter has been decided by the CIRB.

In the meantime, it remains business as usual at Air Canada and all flights will continue to operate as scheduled.

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

Air Canada's public communications may include forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements, by their nature, are based on assumptions and are subject to important risks and uncertainties, including those described below. Forward-looking statements cannot be relied upon due to, amongst other things, changing external events and general uncertainties of the business. Actual results may differ materially from results indicated in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including without limitation, industry, market, credit and economic conditions, the ability to reduce operating costs and secure financing, pension issues, energy prices, currency exchange and interest rates, employee and labour relations, competition, war, terrorist acts, epidemic diseases, environmental factors (including weather systems and other natural phenomena and factors arising from man-made sources), insurance issues and costs, changes in demand due to the seasonal nature of the business, supply issues, changes in laws, regulatory developments or proceedings, pending and future litigation and actions by third parties as well as the factors identified throughout Air Canada's public disclosure file available at www.sedar.com. Any forward-looking statements contained in this news release represent Air Canada's expectations as of the date of this news release and are subject to change after such date. However, Air Canada disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities regulations.


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