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Airbus workers at Quebec plant reject company's third contract offer

MONTREAL — Unionized workers at an Airbus assembly plant north of Montreal have rejected a contract offer for the third time.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents about 1,300 employees at the Mirabel, Que. facility, said Sunday that nearly 70 per cent of its members voted against the proposed deal.

"With this agreement in principle, we believed we had met the expectation of our members, but that was not the case," Éric Rancourt, the union's spokesman at the negotiating table, said in a news release. "We will quickly communicate with the employer to discuss the next steps."

The union said working hours and pay were among the reasons union members voted against the offer.

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Workers soundly rejected a second offer from the employer earlier this month, with almost all of them voting in favour of strike action. No deadline has currently been set for a strike.

The proposed five-year contract included a wage increase of eight per cent in the first year followed by annual increases of three or four per cent, as well as improvements to other benefits including insurance, vacation and pensions.

Airbus said in an emailed statement that it is disappointed that the offer was rejected and is "studying all possible options."

The company said the A220 plane assembled at the facility is not yet profitable and said both workers and the company need to show flexibility.

"We have put everything on the table in terms of improving salary conditions, increasing benefits and pensions, and adding a premium to foster knowledge-sharing among our employees," said Patrick Bertin, head of human resources at Airbus Canada. "This is a young aircraft program, and additional efforts need to be done in order to ensure its long-term success."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press