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This article was published 10/6/2011 (3397 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Air Canada staff who deal with the public could be on strike Monday night but the airline is promising no disruption to its service if that happens.
The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union issued a 72-hour strike notice Friday night that could put 3,800 check-in agents, boarding-gate staff and call-centre workers on the picket line.
Negotiations between both sides are expected to continue throughout the weekend.
"At this point our focus is on achieving a negotiated settlement... but should labour action occur we plan to offer a full schedule," Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said.
Union officials said flight delays and cancellations are inevitable if a strike does occur as its members at the airline play a crucial role in getting passengers onto aircraft.
In Winnipeg, the CAW has 250 members employed at Air Canada.
Fitzpatrick said Air Canada has a contingency plan in the event of a strike but he would not explain how the airline will function without its key personnel.
"If it becomes necessary, we will convey information on (the contingency plans but we remain confident of achieving an agreement," Fitzpatrick said. "For now, customers can continue to book with confidence and follow through on their travel plans."
The CAW and Air Canada have been in negotiations for the past 10 weeks after the collective agreement expired Feb. 28. The major stumbling issues have been the creation of a separate pension plan for new hires and the introduction of a low-cost airline subsidiary.
Air Canada is also involved in negotiations with three other unions whose collective agreements also expired earlier this year:
The Air Canada Pilots Association, 3,000 pilots, rejected a tentative agreement;
CUPE, representing 6,800 flight attendants, last week requested a federal conciliator become involved in negotiations;
The international Associations of Machinists, representing 8,200 aircraft mechanics and baggage handlers; talks are at the early stage.
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