JOSIANNE THERIAULT10:56 (1 hour ago)TomeToo much bilingualism at Air Canada? A referee says no.

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JOSIANNE THERIAULT10:56 (1 hour ago)&To meToo much bilingualism at Air Canada? An arbitrator says no.

According to the Air Canada Employees Union, the company required more bilingual flight attendants than agreed.

The union representing AirCanada employees was dismissed on Tuesday in a decision consulted by Radio-Canada, after a dispute with the company that has lasted for more than four years. The complainants alleged that the personnel scheduling system increased the number of bilingual flight attendants required on flights beyond the agreed limit.

This limit is set out in an agreement established in 2015 between the union and the employer. The document indicates the maximum number of bilingual employees that AirCanada can require depending on the type of flight.

For example, on flights from Quebec, heading to or transiting through Quebec and leading to continental Europe, the South or Florida, all flight attendants must be bilingual. The company may also require one bilingual agent for overseas flights with a crew of five or less, and two bilingual agents for crews greater than five.

The grievance filed in 2018 by the union concerns the Jeppesen employee scheduling system, adopted a few months earlier by the airline.

This system increases the company's use of the principle of twinning. A flight from Vancouver to Calgary can thus be combined with a flight from Calgary to Montreal when assigning schedules. These two flights will then have the same number of bilingual employees required, even if they are not both heading for Quebec.

According to the union, this principle led to too many bilingual employees being required on 2,143 flights in February 2023, and on two flights in October 2022.

The disagreement with Air Canada is therefore based on the interpretation of the agreement, namely whether it applies to individual flights or to combined flights.< /p>

Referee Michelle Flaherty settles the debate in her decision. The language requirements, she says, are set according to the buddy system and the union was aware of this situation before signing the agreement.

Since at At least 2005, the company provided for bilingualism requirements based on pairings and generally applied the maximum bilingual coverage through the pairing. The union had been aware of this practice since at least 2011, Ms. Flaherty said.

There is no reason to conclude that the company exceeded the agreed maximums, she adds.

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