Workers at Airbus’s A220 manufacturing site near Montreal have rejected the company’s latest pay offer, marking continuation of a negotiation process that previously left the union warning of a go-slow by its members. 

The Local 712 division of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has been chasing better pay and benefits at the same time Airbus Canada has been seeking to make the loss-making A220 programme profitable.

Pre-Fal A220-c-Airbus

Source: Airbus

Airbus aims by 2026 to be producing 14 A220s monthly

During a 7 April vote, union members rejected Airbus’s latest offer by a 99.9% margin, the labour group, which represents about 1,300 Airbus Canada workers, said on 8 April. Members have now rejected two offers, having on 17 March rebuffed Airbus’s previous proposal.

“Since the March 17 meeting, we’ve made the employer’s proposal evolve on certain points, but there’s some catching up to do that’s still not included in the second offer,” says union representative Eric Rancourt.

Airbus produces A220s at its primary site in Mirabel near Montreal, and also in Mobile, Alabama.

“The dialogue at the table has been open and constructive, however there is still a gap between the union’s demands and the current financial capacity of the A220, which has not yet reached break even,” Airbus says. 

“We are determined in continuing the dialogue which is underway so that together we find a mutually acceptable agreement, while ensuring the long-term success of the A220.”

Airbus and the union say negotiations will resume on 8 April. The current employment contract took effect in 2019 and expired on 1 December last year.

The union says the next deal must include a “wage catch up” and pension benefits that match cost of living increases. It is also negotiating over work schedules, insurance, outsourcing and job security and contract duration.

Airbus has set a goal by 2026 to be producing 14 A220s monthly, and to bring the programme into profitability. But boosting production has been challenging; the company delivered an average of less than six A220s monthly in 2023.