TORONTO, May 31 /CNW/ - Thousands of travellers could be affected at the height of the summer season if Jazz Air doesn't start negotiating seriously, say the company's flight attendants.
The flight attendants voted 99.5% to authorize a strike in meetings held across Canada over the past two weeks, with more than 80% voting.
The airline's cabin crews could go on strike - or be locked out - as early as June 16, if negotiations towards a new contract don't show progress.
The Canadian Flight Attendants Union says the strike vote sends a strong message to Jazz that it's payback time after seven years of deep cuts in pay and benefits.
Jazz employees helped the company when it was in financial trouble in 2003 and 2004. Now that it is posting record profits, the union says Jazz can well afford to improve wages and working conditions.
"Some Jazz flight attendants are trying to make a living on $22,000 a year," said spokesperson Jennifer Kalmar, the union's western vice-president. "That's completely unacceptable, especially for people who are responsible for passenger safety on board our aircraft."
The union says it would rather negotiate a settlement with Jazz than go on strike. But the 850 flight attendants say the near-unanimous strike vote shows they are serious about improving their substandard wages and working conditions.
SOURCE CANADIAN FLIGHT ATTENDANTS UNION
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