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Canadian flight attendants are demanding ground payment, citing delays at the airport, according to Reuters


© Reuters. PHOTO FILE: Air Canada planes parked at Toronto Pearson Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, April 28, 2021. REUTERS / Carlos Osorio

Alison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Canadian flight attendants are demanding pay for time on the ground as well as in flight as they have recently suffered delays, sometimes several hours, at the country’s busiest airport due to staff shortages, health checks and rising traffic.

The Canadian Union of Civil Servants (CUPE) said its members are increasingly working for free as some arriving planes linger at the gates at Toronto Pearson International Airport, in some cases up to three hours.

American flight attendants in contract negotiations with carriers such as American Airlines (NASDAQ :), also seek payment during boarding.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE 🙂 has said it will start paying flight attendants when boarding passengers from June 2nd.

Cabin crew requirements could put additional pressure on airlines that are recovering from a drop in traffic caused by a pandemic.

Although Air Canada flight attendants are not negotiating contracts, delays in Toronto are reducing vacation time, said Wesley Lesoski, president of the CUPE airline division.

Lesoski said flight attendants are now concerned about the busy summer travel season if delays continue. “As we go in the summer, we are worried about the temperature in the cabin and just people become unruly.”

CUPE represents about 15,000 flight attendants from nine airlines, including Air Canada.

Last week, 7,000 passengers waited on planes for more than 90 minutes, Toronto business executives, including the region’s trade department, said Thursday.

“Nearly 50% of all international passengers arriving, or 100,000 people, were detained last week, up 20% from the last two weeks,” the groups said in a statement.

Lesoski said flight attendants receive full pay in the air, which usually stops 15 minutes after arriving at the gate.

Air Canada, the country’s largest carrier, was not available for comment.

The Office of the Minister of Transportation of Canada said it is working with the industry to reduce delays.

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