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Canadian union begins strike action against Bombardier, DeHavilland

Credit: REUTERS/PETER NICHOLLS

Canada's largest private sector union said on Tuesday it has commenced strike action against De Havilland Aircraft of Canada (DHC) and business jet maker Bombardier Inc.

By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL, July 27 (Reuters) - Canada's largest private sector union said on Tuesday it has commenced strike action against De Havilland Aircraft of Canada (DHC) and business jet maker Bombardier Inc BBDb.TO.

The labor dispute comes during a rebound in U.S. business jet flights, as more wealthy travelers look to fly on private aircraft during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unifor said it is negotiating agreements for a combined 2,200 workers at the same Toronto site that produces Bombardier's Global large-cabin business jets and DeHavilland's Dash 8-400 turboprops.

DeHavilland announced in February it would no longer make new Dash 8-400 aircraft at the Downsview site beyond currently confirmed orders due to COVID-19.

Bombardier spokesman Mark Masluch said "the talks are continuing and we are focused on seeing the process through to an agreement."

DeHavilland could not be immediately reached for comment.

Unifor said earlier on Tuesday in a statement that "job action would begin at the Downsview site affecting Bombardier production of Global series aircraft" if an agreement is not "reached by the strike deadline with both companies."

Key issues in the negotiations with Bombardier include workers’ pensions, the union said.

A key sticking point for DeHavilland is the future of the turboprop program the company acquired from Bombardier in 2019.

Unifor said it was seeking a commitment from the company to maintain production within a "reasonable radius" of Toronto if manufacturing resumes.

(Reporting By Allison Lampert; Editing by Dan Grebler and Marguerita Choy)

((Allison.Lampert@thomsonreuters.com; 514-796-4212; Reuters Messaging: allison.lampert.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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