OTTAWA - Canada’s largest union says Air Canada’s bid to control Canadian Airlines fails to provide the minimum assurances needed by employees and the travelling public.
In a presentation to the Commons committee on transportation, the Canadian Union of Public Employees says Air Canada management will have to come up with “real answers to tough questions” before flight attendants and other employees can judge this bid.
“Air Canada is more interested in answering the questions of Canadian shareholders than the Canadian public,” says CUPE’s National President Judy Darcy. “In a 47-page proposal, only three pages talk about their commitments to employees and the travelling public, and many details are missing.”
“CUPE flight attendants are looking for guarantees of job security beyond the next two years,” says Denise Hill, president of CUPE’s Airline Division. “And we need assurances there will be wage equity and protection, that our pensions will be protected and our jobs won’t be exported overseas.”
In its presentation, CUPE assailed the government’s inaction and called for a clear set of rules to govern airline restructuring. “The inaction of this government sets us on a collision course with disaster,” says Darcy.
In particular, CUPE is concerned about Air Canada’s proposal to set up a new low cost airline. “In effect, Air Canada is promising to compete with itself,” says Darcy. “We ask whether this pretext of competition isn’t intended to pre-empt competition.”
In its brief, CUPE argues that to end the turmoil in the airline industry, government regulation is essential. “Air transportation is too important to be left to the market,” says Darcy. “The Minister has the authority and the responsibility to act in the public interest. No more excuses. The time for action is now.”
CUPE is Canada’s largest union representing 475,000 women and men in the public and private sectors, including 9,500 flight attendants working with eleven Canadian carriers.
To read Judy Darcy’s remarks, click here.
To read the Submission to the House of Commons standing committee on transport, click here.
For more information, contact:Catherine Louli