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An Air Canada pilot walks to his plane at the International airport in Calgary. If the Air Canada Pilots Association were to obtain a strike mandate, the union has to provide 72-hour notice of any walkout. (TODD KOROL/REUTERS/TODD KOROL/REUTERS)
An Air Canada pilot walks to his plane at the International airport in Calgary. If the Air Canada Pilots Association were to obtain a strike mandate, the union has to provide 72-hour notice of any walkout. (TODD KOROL/REUTERS/TODD KOROL/REUTERS)

Air Canada pilots nearing strike vote Add to ...

The Air Canada Pilots Association is warning that mediated labour talks have entered a crucial phase with no signs of management budging.

“Very soon we will all be required to demonstrate our resolve,” ACPA’s negotiating committee said in an 18-page newsletter to unionized pilots on Tuesday.

The committee will wrap up two days of presentations to pilots on Wednesday, clearing the way for a five-day strike vote to start as early as Thursday. The voting period would be shorter than the traditional 10 days.

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ACPA’s newsletter contains a litany of complaints over management’s “extreme” changes envisaged for pensions, extending the retirement age beyond 60 and subcontracting regional flying and outsourcing a planned low-cost international carrier.

If ACPA were to obtain a strike mandate, the union has to provide 72-hour notice of any walkout.

With only days left in a cooling-off period set to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 14 “and no movement by the company off of their extreme position, negotiations have entered a critical stage,” the union negotiators wrote. “There are also a multitude of small concessions that when added together would fundamentally change your life.”

Ashley Kelahear, a spokeswoman for federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, said the union and management have “indicated that there would be no work stoppage and no effect on the travelling public in the short term.”

Ms. Raitt and officials from the Labour Department met with representatives from ACPA and Air Canada on Monday.

“The parties committed to working together to reach a deal,” Ms. Kelahear said in a statement Tuesday. “The minister is encouraged by these commitments and mediators remain engaged with the parties. The best deal is the one the parties reach themselves.”

Air Canada will release its fourth-quarter and 2011 financial results on Thursday.

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