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

Air Canada (Toronto: AC) plans to lock out 3,000 pilots at midnight Monday, after their pilots union rejected what the carrier called its final and best offer for a labor agreement.

The airline already faces a strike by 8,600 mechanics, baggage handlers, cleaners and electricians at midnight Monday, the start of the spring-break travel season.

The Air Canada Pilots Union, having advised its members to reject the offer, missed a deadline of noon Thursday for acceptance.

We need to bring closure to the ongoing climate of labour uncertainty at Air Canada which is affecting our customers, destabilizing the company and our operations, and damaging the Air Canada brand, Duncan Dee, chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Air Canada said it offered wage increases of 2 percent over the next three years and 3 percent over the next two years, along with earlier pensions and early retirement at 60.

The ACPA advised pilots to reject the offer, saying the airline wasn't following an agreement to continue in federal mediation for up to 180 days.

“This offer continues the corporation’s pattern of behavior over the last decade and demands even more concessions from our pilots, union president Paul Strachan said in a statement.

The union rejected a contract offer a year ago, and talks resumed last November. In February, the pilots voted to approve a strike but continued negotiating. Their last contract, which expired in 2009, had frozen pay for two years, which followed pay cuts of up to 30 percent.