[HALIFAX, NS] — Airline dispatchers represented by the Canadian Air Line Dispatchers Association (CALDA) have given their association a resounding 92 per cent strike mandate in their negotiations with Jazz Air. The result of the vote among the 67 Halifax-based employees was released late Thursday.
A failure of the conciliation process now underway could lead to a work stoppage at the airline as early as mid-September, effectively grounding it. Conciliation is expected to conclude by Aug. 27.
"We've been extremely patient and reasonable throughout this collective-bargaining process," said Allan Shiell, Chair of CALDA Local 2. "Our proposals are reasonable and not costly to the company. We are now at the point where our members feel they have no alternative but to show the company they are serious about getting recognition for their qualifications, responsibilities and dedication to the company."
While Jazz calls itself a regional airline, it dispatches more flights each day than any other airline in Canada — including Air Canada — serving communities from coast to coast and many cities in the US.
"Jazz dispatchers rightly believe they should be compensated in line with their responsibilities," said Shiell.
Airline dispatchers are licensed and regulated by Transport Canada. They perform a crucial role in airline operations, calculating fuel loads and ensuring legal compliance. They work directly with pilots, maintenance controllers and others to ensure aircraft are safe to fly. An aircraft cannot legally leave the gate without its flight plan and equipment being cleared by a dispatcher, who shares joint operational control with the pilot.