Air Canada flight attendants set Oct. 13 strike date

Flight attendants vote 65.2 per cent in favour of job action

(Reuters) - Flight attendants at Air Canada are set to strike Oct. 13, 2011 after reject a tentative agreement with the country's biggest airline.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents the company's 6,800 flight attendants, said 65.2 percent of its members who cast their ballots over the past 10 days voted against the agreement.

"We ask the federal government, in the strongest possible terms, to respect our right to collective bargaining and not intervene unilaterally in this dispute," Jeff Taylor, president of CUPE's Air Canada component, said in a statement.

UPDATE: Canadian government won't tolerate Air Canada strike

Union leaders had urged members to back the tentative labour agreement, which was reached on Sept. 20 just hours before a strike, which would have grounded much of the airline's fleet, was set to start.

Union members overwhelmingly rejected a previous labour contract with Air Canada in August. Negotiations resumed after the rejection but the union issued 72-hour strike notice when talks stalled..

Canada's Conservative government has made it clear that it will step in swiftly with back-to-work legislation to halt any strikes at Air Canada, which it regards as an important engine of economic activity.

Last month Labour Minister Lisa Raitt said a strike at Air Canada could strand as many as 65,000 passengers on its first day.

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