Air Canada drops appeal on pensions decision
Air Canada plans to lock out 3,000 pilots at midnight Monday even as it faces a walkout by thousands of other union workers. Reuters

TORONTO (Reuters) - A federal arbitrator imposed a labor contract on Air Canada's 6,800 flight attendants on Monday that has the same provisions as a tentative deal the attendants voted down in October, the union representing the workers, said on Monday.

Awarding flight attendants an agreement they rejected a month ago does not in any way address serious workplace issues, and flight attendants are rightfully disappointed and angry, Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said in a release.

The union said it would review the decision and consult with members on its next steps.

The flight attendants came to the brink of a strike in October after rejecting a second tentative settlement agreed between Air Canada and their union representatives.

But the federal government effectively prevented a strike by taking the unusual step of asking the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, a quasi-judicial tribunal that administers and interprets parts of Canada's Labour Code, to intervene in the dispute on the basis that a strike would pose a safety risk.

The union and the airline then agreed to let an arbitrator rule on the drawn-out labor contract dispute.

The dispute is one of several facing Air Canada, Canada's largest airline, which is negotiating with bargaining units, including the union that represents mechanics and baggage handlers.

The airline recently asked a federal conciliator to oversee its talks with the Air Canada Pilots Association, a move that starts the clock ticking toward the time when a legal strike or lock-out is possible.

Air Canada is also back in negotiations with the association that represents flight dispatchers, after its members rejected a tentative deal in August.

Air Canada could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Allison Martell; editing by Janet Guttsman)