Air Transat, machinists' union agree to wage freeze

5-year contract follows similar deals as flight attendants, pilots

(Reuters) — Maintenance employees at Canadian travel operator Transat AT Inc. have approved a labour contract that defers planned wage increases temporarily, the financially-troubled company said on July 4. This is the third union to back such a freeze for Montreal-based company.

Transat AT posted a big quarterly loss last month as intense competition drove down prices. It forecast a challenging summer, with currency fluctuations expected to more than offset falling fuel prices.

A new five-year agreement-in-principle was approved by the majority of 280 maintenance and store employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW).

The contract, which exchanges wage hikes for compensation based on the company reaching certain financial targets, runs until April 2016.

Last month, the union representing Air Transat's 1,800 flight attendants agreed to freeze wages. A similar deal was struck with 425 pilots in May.

The tour operator launched a three-year return-to-profit plan last year. It laid off 115 employees and expects to cut annual costs by $20 million this year.

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