April 11, 2011 / 10:09 PM / 7 years ago

Union lashes out at Air Canada CEO's salary

* CAW says will demand equal improvements for workers

* Union represents 3,800 customer service, sales agents

* Air Canada says salary details contained in CEO contract

VANCOUVER, April 11 (Reuters) - Salary and benefits of C$4.6 million ($4.8 million) paid to Air Canada’s ACa.TO ACb.TO chief executive last year were a “disgrace” after years of belt-tightening in the industry, one of the unions, currently in labor talks with the airline, said on Monday.

“The Air Canada bargaining committee and our union will be demanding equal improvements and solid gains from Air Canada,” Ken Lewenza, national president of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) said.

Air Canada’s shares are down by more than a third this year, partly on worries about strikes at Canada’s biggest carrier as it negotiates new labor contracts with all its unions.

The CAW represents 3,800 customer service and sales agents at the carrier. The federal government recently appointed a conciliator to help talks along after little progress was made.

Air Canada’s management proxy circular, released last Friday, disclosed that CEO Calin Rovinescu received total compensation of nearly C$4.6 million in 2010, up 75 percent on the C$2.6 million he received the year before.

Air Canada said the compensation “reflects the terms of Mr. Rovinescu’s original employment contract of April 2009 when he was recruited to return to Air Canada” and that “these arrangements are not new”. It declined to comment further.

The contract also includes a retention payment of C$5 million for Rovinescu if he stays until March 31, 2012.

$1=$0.96 Canadian Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Rob Wilson

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