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The agreement was rejected in principle in Mirabel  Airbus says it is considering “all possible options”

The agreement was rejected in principle in Mirabel Airbus says it is considering “all possible options”

Airbus says it has “put everything on the table” in negotiations with the 1,300 union members who assemble the A220 – which is still in deficit – in Mirabel. After rejecting an agreement in principle providing for a 22% salary increase over five years, the aircraft manufacturer says it is examining “all possible options.”

But in response to Sunday's vote result, the European multinational did not say how far it was prepared to go. In her statement, she essentially expressed her disappointment and reiterated the gains made by workers at the plant in Laurentian. By email, Journalism I asked Airbus if a shutdown was possible. As of this writing, the company has not responded.

“We have put everything on the table in terms of improving salary conditions, increasing social and retirement benefits by adding a bonus to encourage the sharing of our knowledge among our employees,” says Patrick Bertin, Head of Human Resources at Airbus Canada.

The third employer offer from the aircraft manufacturer came from a tentative agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). The union recommended that its members – including mechanics, tool makers, welders and other technicians – accept the offer. Gathered at a meeting in Laval, they rejected it by about 68%. Nearly 75% of those employees were present, or just under 1,000 union members.

a surprise

On the union side, we do not seem to expect the result that occurred on Sunday.

“With this agreement in principle, we thought we had met members’ expectations, but that is not the case,” union spokesman Eric Rancourt said. We will quickly contact your employer to discuss next steps. »

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He said in a telephone interview that he had already contacted his employer to set new dates for resuming negotiations. Mr. Rancourt claimed that he did not get a response from Airbus on Sunday. The Airbus statement stressed that it was “essential” to resolve the impasse “as quickly as possible.”

The first two offers from employers were almost unanimously rejected by workers, following recommendations from their union. This third proposal from Airbus was based on a five-year employment contract with annual salary increases of 8%, 3%, 3%, 4% and 4%. It would have been applied retroactively to December 2.

Stretching issue

Industrial peace was one of the issues to be resolved at Airbus as part of its strategy to make the program profitable. In order to achieve this, the European aircraft manufacturer must double its current production rate within two years and be able to deliver 14 examples of the A220 per month. In 2023, 68 devices were delivered to customers. After the first three months of the year, deliveries of the A220 reached 12 aircraft. The company still has a lot of work to do.

“This is a young aircraft program and efforts still need to be made to ensure its long-term success,” says Mr Bertin.

Any delay in the profitability schedule could have consequences for Quebec taxpayers, who own 25% of this program developed by Bombardier after pumping in $1.7 billion since 2015. By agreeing to transfer $380 million in 2022, Quebec was able to Postponing the loan to 2030. The moment when Airbus can buy back its stake in the A220.

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The longer we wait for earnings, the more money Quebec will leave on the table.

The story so far:

November 6, 2023: Negotiations between Airbus and IAMAW begin

1any December 2023: The collective agreement for 1,300 union members expires.

March 17, 2024: Employer's first offer was rejected by 99.6%.

April 7, 2024: Union members reject the second proposal by 99.9%.

April 12, 2024: Announcing a preliminary agreement between the union and the employer.

April 21, 2024: The agreement is rejected by 68% of IAMAW members.

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  • 2
    A220 assembly lines. The second is in Mobile, Alabama, where employees do not belong to unions.

    Source: Press