CAW president Ken Lewenza speaks to Air Canada workers rallying outside of Pearson Airport's Terminal 1 on Thursday. (Priya Sankaran/CBC)


CBC News

Air Canada customer service and sales staff say they're willing to walk off the job Monday night if the airline doesn't budge on key concessions.

About 400 workers and labour rights activists rallied at Toronto's Pearson airport on Thursday afternoon, a day before one of Air Canada's unions could serve notice of a strike.

Disgruntled workers brandished placards outside the domestic departures section of Terminal 1, chanting for the airline to give them "a fair deal."

The workers then marched through the terminal in a peaceful demonstration before dispersing at about 2:30 p.m. ET.

A proposal to change pension plans for new employees is a key issue as Air Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers union continue bargaining in Toronto.

The CAW, which represents 3,800 Air Canada customer service and airport workers, could serve 72 hours notice on Friday for a strike beginning at midnight on Monday.

Air Canada communications director Peter Fitzpatrick said the rally would not affect how the company negotiates.

"The CAW have held a series of rallies across the country and this is another one that they're doing, and they have opinions and we respect their right to express their opinions," he said.

"And you know, we're just negotiating and we're going to keep negotiating. It's business as usual right now. That means the customers can continue to book with confidence and follow through on their travel plans. We are focused on reaching a settlement. You know we're actively negotiating. And we fully expect that we will get an agreement without the job action."

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