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Southwest agrees to pay raises for agents

DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines reached a tentative agreement on Monday with a union representing its customer-service agents that would give pay raises totalling more than 16 per cent over the next three years to about 7,000 employees.

The machinists’ union said its negotiating committee unanimously recommended that members approve the contract in an upcoming ratification vote.

The contract is the latest sign of inflationary pressure on airlines, which are also facing higher fuel costs. During the pandemic, Southwest has seen fewer people apply for some openings, leading the Dallas-based carrier to raise starting pay for many airport-based jobs.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers posted a summary of the contract. Workers would get raises of 6.5 per cent and three per cent annual raises in each of the next three years, which works out to a compounded increase of 16.4 per cent.