The Air Canada flight attendants union (CUPE) was forced to cancel a planned strike yesterday after Labour Minister Lisa Raitt requested that the Canada Industrial Relations Board review the union’s contract dispute. Until the review is complete, Air Canada employees are prohibited from striking by the federal labour board.
The CUPE has called this an “unwarranted attack on their collective bargaining rights” by the Conservative government. The union has said it is ready to resume negotiations with the airline. Some critics believe the move is a stall tactic to bide time until the government is able to pass back-to-work legislation.
Raitt justified the CIRB review by suggesting a strike could endanger the health and safety of some Canadians who rely on “essential services” provided by the airline—presumably through access to services in urban centres. Previously, Raitt voiced concern about the effect the strike would have on the Canadian economy.