Air Canada CEO Payment Excessive, CAW Local 2002 President says

April 12, 2011, 11:15 AM EST


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The payment of $4.6 million to Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu last year, plus a retention bonus to stay with the airline, is a disgrace especially after years of difficult economic times in the airline industry, says Jamie Ross, CAW Local 2002 president.

Air Canada and CAW Local 2002 are currently in negotiations for a new collective agreement. Ross said news of the massive payout to the Air Canada CEO undercuts claims by airline management they can't afford to offer workers a solid agreement.

"Our members work hard to offer solid service and ensure Air Canada is the best airline possible, but in the last round of bargaining alone we had to fight back a broad range of demands for concessions," said Ross. Since 2002 CAW members wages at Air Canada have not even kept pace with half the rate of inflation, she said.

"It's unjust to demand cutbacks or offer minimal gains to thousands of hard working Air Canada employees and then turn around and give executives millions in compensation," Ross said.

According to Canadian Press, in addition to $3 million in cash Rovinescu received last year, he also received $1.4 million of Air Canada shares and $156,400 of retirement benefits.

Rovinescu will be able to access a $5 million retention payment if he remains on the job until March 31, 2012, CP states.

"The Air Canada results from the last couple of years, reflects the hard, dedicated work of our members from across the country," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

"For this corporation to dole out exorbitant bonuses and retirement benefits is absolutely unacceptable to our Air Canada airline members and to our union, especially when we are in negotiations and the corporation is demanding significant concessions, including pension cuts. The Air Canada bargaining committee and our union will be demanding equal improvements and solid gains from Air Canada," Lewenza said.

CAW Local 2002 represents 3,800 members at Air Canada, who work in customer service and sales in major airports and call centres.

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