Bombardier union workers ratify new employment contract

MONTREAL, June 22 (Reuters) – Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) said on Wednesday workers at a key program for the Canadian business jet maker have ratified a new employment contract that will include wage increases of up to 18.5% over five years will bring.

The Montreal-based company is one of several in the aerospace industry grappling with labor disputes around the world as demand for travel rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring prices push unions to demand bigger wage increases .

The new contract will employ an estimated 1,800 workers, mostly producing Bombardier’s popular Challenger business jets, which accounted for a third of the company’s deliveries in 2021. read more

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Companies from Bombardier to some European airlines are facing wage disputes with workers amid rising inflation, contributing to rising cost pressures and discontent as the summer travel season begins. Continue reading

Inflation in Canada accelerated to 7.7% in May, the highest rate since January 1983. read more

In the United States, pilots at almost every major airline are protesting, demanding higher wages and contract improvements because of “tiring” flight schedules.

Aviation has been battered during the COVID pandemic, with an estimated 2.3 million jobs lost worldwide, compounding existing workforce shortages. While workers are coming back, there is clout to employees like pilots during the talks.

“Workers have a lot of power right now and they have inflation in their own lives,” said Richard Aboulafia, executive director of AeroDynamic Advisory. “And in the case of aviation, a lot of them have recently been laid off or furloughed, so they don’t feel a lot of loyalty.”

Cabin crew at low-cost airline Ryanair (RYA.I) in Spain and Portugal plan to go on strike on Friday, and work stoppages are expected elsewhere in Europe. Continue reading

Countries around the world are grappling with high inflation as hot demand meets supply chain constraints and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushes commodity prices sharply higher.

Aboulafia said aerospace sectors like defense and cargo could more easily pass rising costs on to customers. Airlines are more vulnerable as they risk losing demand if air fares rise.

“My big fear with all of this is that as the defense gets used to paying more, you could see some sort of crowding out and that’s going to affect advertising because they’re going to have a harder time matching,” Aboulafia said.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which in April reached a settlement on “historic pay rises” for 5,000 Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) workers in Fort Worth, Texas, has opened talks with the defense of Boeing Co ( BA.N) recorded unit.

The union has also negotiated a new contract for Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) customer service staff after reaching a tentative agreement twice. The latest agreement, rejected by workers in the South West in May, included a 15% pay rise over three years and a signing bonus.

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Additional reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Adaptation by Deepa Babington and Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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