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Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, June 17, 2008. Air Canada announced Tuesday that they will cut 2,000 jobs and crimp its capacity by 7 percent as runaway fuel prices sap the profitability of many of its routes. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (CANADA) (MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS)
Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, June 17, 2008. Air Canada announced Tuesday that they will cut 2,000 jobs and crimp its capacity by 7 percent as runaway fuel prices sap the profitability of many of its routes. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (CANADA) (MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS)

Air Canada pilots to challenge anti-strike bill Add to ...

The union representing 3,000 pilots at Air Canada said on Thursday it will launch a legal challenge to federal legislation preventing a strike or lockout at the airline, the country’s biggest.

Air Canada Pilots Association president Paul Strachan said in an e-mail that the union will fight the bill, which was passed by the House of Commons overnight Tuesday. The e-mail did not provide details on what form the challenge would take.

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The bill, which the Senate passed Thursday afternoon, prevents the airline from locking out pilots as well as members of its machinists’ union, and it also prevents the two unions from striking. It sends Air Canada’s contract disputes with the two unions to binding arbitration.

While the legislation was passing through Parliament, the government averted work stoppages at Air Canada temporarily by asking the Canada Industrial Relations Board last Thursday to determine if the airline is an essential service. No labour action can be undertaken while the board is deliberating.

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