OTTAWA – The union representing flight attendants with Canada 3000 says it’s anxious to work with private investors and the government to save the struggling airline.
“From the beginning we’ve demonstrated that we’re willing to look at all options to save this airline and these jobs,” said Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “We believe the Canadian public want alternatives to Air Canada and we believe there’s the market for more than one airline in this country.”
“Our flight attendants at Canada 3000 agreed to major concessions this week to keep the airline afloat, including 500 layoffs and wage rollbacks of 5 to 7.5%, but the company walked away from the table. We are ready to get back to negotiating any time,” said Darcy.
Canada 3000, which earlier this year purchased CanJet and Royal Aviation, has been hit by the fall in revenue in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy. Yesterday it filed for bankruptcy protection before the courts, which gave the airline temporary protection from its creditors and time to lock up financial assistance from the federal government. To everyone’s surprise, last night the airline announced that it was ceasing operations.
“The documents filed with the bankruptcy court make clear that the problems Canada 3000 was experiencing had nothing to do with their collective agreements. They owe creditors millions upon millions of dollars,” said Darcy.
Today there are reports that former Royal Aviation president Michel Leblanc is pressing forward with his bid to revive Royal as a separate airline.
“If reversing the merger will return Royal and Canada 3000 to viable companies, then we’re all for it,” said Darcy. “The unions were never the ones pushing mergers as a means of strengthening the airline industry.”
“The question now is ‘what is the government doing?” said Darcy. “The Minister of Transport continues to fiddle while Rome burns.”
Darcy wrote to Transport Minister David Collenette yesterday calling for the government to intervene to assure some stability in the industry and help rebuild the confidence of the flying public. She has received no reply from the Minister’s office.