(Ottawa) – Judy Darcy, National President of CUPE, expressed outrage today at abusive tactics unfurled today by Air Canada. The airline filed an application today with the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, asking that the Board nullify CUPE’s existing collective agreement protections against layoffs and that it order bargaining to commence immediately.
“This company is engaging in the most unacceptable, abusive behaviour toward its flight attendants,” said Darcy. ”In filing this application, they have declared war against workers who are already reeling from job cuts announced this week. That they would now try to appeal to the Board to strip us of our entrenched collective agreement rights, after we have publicly stated that we would do everything possible to find ways for our workers to take voluntary severance packages and early retirement, is nothing short of a colossal betrayal,” she added.
CUPE met yesterday with Transport Minister David Collenette to urge the federal government to commit financial assistance to workers in the airline industry. Out of the 9,000 layoffs announced in the last month, nearly 2,000 of these will affect flight attendants at Air Canada.
“We told Minister Collenette that he must find ways to fund leave packages for these workers. We committed to sit down with the company and the government to work out the numbers and the details. We also notified him that our negotiated collective agreement rights must be protected at all cost,” said Darcy. “If Air Canada does not withdraw this scurrilous application, the Minister should withhold funding assistance from this airline.”
The Airline Division of CUPE represents over 10,000 Canadian flight attendants, including 8,000 at Air Canada.