Posted at 5:00 am
Job offers with higher salaries for full-time positions are possible, even if Quebec law says otherwise. Federal government companies can always do whatever they want. Air Canada is one of the companies benefiting.
Looking for Montreal-Trudeau airport baggage handlers and apron workers, the country’s largest airline is offering $16.60 an hour for a part-time position. The hourly rate is $21.11 for a full-time position.
That Labor Standards Act (LNT) prohibits this, but since the company is under federal jurisdiction, it is subject to Canada’s Labor Code, which does not go as far as Section 41.1 of Quebec law. So this wage disparity is not illegal, even if the Trudeau government has expressed a desire to rectify the situation – without presenting a timetable.
“We do exactly the same work and have the same responsibilities,” criticizes Guillaume Lingat, President of Section 140 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). “The difference is that one employee works 20 hours a week and the other 40.”
Air Canada’s actions are undermining the work environment, the union says.
We have part-timers who have been with us for 10-15 years and see a newcomer taking on a full-time position and earning more than them. You are outraged.
Guillaume Lingat, President of IAMAW Section 140
Among the other vacancies consulted by The press No other company offers higher salaries for baggage handler and ramp agent positions for employees who choose to work full-time.
At Swissport and Avjet/TCAS, which provide outsourcing services to airlines, the hourly rate for new hires is the same. Given the labor shortage, these two companies would have the right to mimic Air Canada as they fall under the Canadian Labor Code. The situation is different with the employment contract regulations.
No problem, says the company
In an email, Air Canada spokeswoman Pascale Déry defended the company’s practices, stressing that they respect the applicable collective agreement. IAMAW confirmed this claim.
Mr Lingat says these clauses have been part of collective agreements since the airline was privatized in the late 1980s, but the union cannot persuade the employer to waive them, Mr Lingat adds.
“It’s rather unusual in employment law for the same position to have different pay levels,” notes François-Nicolas Fleury, an employment law attorney at Monette Barakett. “It is for this reason that we have passed legislation on this issue in Quebec. We are talking about statutes, but about the frequency of work. »
Despite the special nature of the matter, Mr.e Fleury declined to comment on Air Canada’s recruitment strategy at Montreal-Trudeau Airport.
When is the change?
The Trudeau government announced in 2018 that it would “ban a gap between wage rates based on workers’ employment status,” but it’s been slow to move from words to action. Consultation on this issue has just ended but Employment and Social Development Canada has declined to give a timetable.
Air Canada has no intention of changing in the short term.
“Our approach respects applicable law and collective agreements,” says Ms.me Dery. We are aware of the government’s intentions and are monitoring developments. »
IAMAW has trouble explaining how nearly four years have passed since the changes announced by the Trudeau administration. The union accuses him of being negligent in solving an “injustice”.
“This is suggested on government websites [les disparités salariales] are illegal, but it is not in force. What’s the point of announcing changes if it doesn’t make sense? »
The Air Canada ramp agents represented by IAMAW will have contract expiration in 2026.