Air Canada pilots staged a protest at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YTO) on September 29, 2023 as negotiations with the Canadian flag carrier continue on.
The Canada Air Line Pilots Association began the talks in June 2023, just one day after fellow union members at WestJet ratified a new collective agreement.
Representing more than 5,000 pilots, Air Canada’s union is demanding job security, safety and better wages.
The Canadian pilots are also stressing the fact that their US counterparts are getting better pay and benefits.
“There was a point in time back in 2013 when we were pretty comparable — almost even — with our fellow counterparts at United. But starting next year, United Airlines pilots will earn 92% more,” head of Air Canada’s contingent Charlene Hudy told Canadian media outlet Toronto Sun.
Pilots for US airlines such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, secured agreements that included four-year pay hikes ranging from 34% to 40%.
The Canada Air Line Pilots Association said that the picket is intended to “showcase our unity and resolve, as well as our loyalty to our fellow Canadians, who deserve no less than a reliable aviation network with experienced pilots in the flight deck”.
The picket was captured on video and uploaded on social media TikTok, where hundreds of pilots can be seen lined up at the entrance of Toronto Airport as a sign of solidarity.
Reuters reported that Air Canada’s pilots have received a 2% wage increase per year since 2014. In March the country’s inflation rate was running at 4.3%, a 19-month low.