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Flair Airlines job action delayed

Last Updated Dec 10, 2018 at 5:39 pm PST

A Flair Air aircraft. (Source: Instagram, @javaniaviation)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) —  Everybody’s back at work now, but 139 flight attendants with a discount carrier that flies out of Vancouver, Abbotsford and Kelowna could still take job action before the holidays.

Service disruptions at Flair Airlines slated to start Monday, Dec. 10, have been temporarily called off.

Gary Yee with CUPE local 4060 says there’s hope contract talks can resume this week.

“Everybody’s back at work. There are no flights impacted and it’s business as usual,” Yee says. “They’ve said they wanted to continue to bargain, so hopefully they’re prepared to come to bargain. We don’t have any dates yet.”

The key issue for workers negotiating their first contract is wages, namely new hires getting paid less than more experienced flight attendants.

Yee says what happens next depends on how the Canada Industrial Relations Board rules on complaints filed by the union.

“Once we get those decisions we’ll be able to re-evaluate where we’re at and see where we go. Perhaps we’ll get a deal done before that. Perhaps we won’t. I don’t know. At this point, it’s still up in the air,” he says.

The complaints are linked to the company threatening to punish employees who take part in job action, as well as offering workers willing to cross picket lines $150 a day.

In an emailed statement, Iris Dias, spokesperson with Flair Airlines, says any claims of unfair labour practices are false and the company is happy no job action is taking place. Flair is “confident” the CIRB will agree with it.

“We are pleased at this overnight development and thank our flight attendants for their commitment to our organization and its success,” the statement reads. “We will continue to negotiate with CUPE to reach an agreement that provides a high quality of life for our flight attendants while protecting the long-term sustainability of our operations.”