Canada’s largest union, and union representing Canada’s flight attendants, is alarmed and disappointed by the Trudeau government’s continued lack of transparency and consultation on badly needed federal support for the airline sector. Mark Hancock, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), says workers and the public alike should be concerned about what looks increasingly like a package negotiated in secret without any input from the tens of thousands of workers affected.
“For a year, our members have been banging on the government’s door to get help for their industry in crisis, and the prime minister’s response has been to turn the lights off and pretend no one is home,” said Hancock.
A report in the Globe and Mail on Monday evening indicated the federal government and Canada’s major airlines are nearing agreement on a financial aid package for the airline sector. The report notes that the parties have signed non-disclosure agreements, and suggests the package will not contain any stipulations about protecting jobs.
“The government is negotiating in total secrecy, ignoring the concerns of workers, and leaving tens of thousands of jobs in the dust,” continued Hancock. “It’s a disgrace.”
COVID-19 has grounded most flights in Canada, resulting in sweeping layoffs, and the federal government’s wage subsidy program failed the majority of workers in the sector after Air Canada opted to deny access to their laid-off employees.
Despite countless requests by CUPE’s Airline Division to secure a meeting with Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland or Transport Omar Alghabra, none of their requests have been acknowledged.