10/14/11 (AEIN) Air Canada and union officials traded barbs as a dispute involving flight attendants persisted Friday. The government barred attendants from striking while the airline accused their union of "bad faith" negotiation practices, CBC radio reported in an afternoon broadcast.
Air Canada issued a press release on Thursday stating that it had submitted an "unfair labour practice" claim against the Canadian Union of Public Employees, pointing to the union's rejection of two previous tentative agreements. Labor Minister Lisa Raitt referred the issue to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board the same day, according to a government statement.
The board can decide to order binding arbitration or force the airline and the union to accept a certain settlement. A strike was scheduled for Thursday, but the union was compelled to cancel it following referral to the Industrial Relations Board. A strike is prohibited by law until the board makes its decision, possibly longer depending upon the eventual outcome.
Union President Paul Moist responded with a statement on Friday terming Air Canada's claims about negotiating practices "ludicrous" and urging it to return to the bargaining table. He also accused the government of trampling workers' rights by using the law to prevent unions from striking.