Flight attendants and their allies staged rallies across Canada July 28 to protest Air Canada’s plans to eliminate 600 jobs and close bases in Halifax and Winnipeg.
“The numbers of people who came out to support us, the passion with which our political leaders spoke was fantastic, so inspiring”, said Lesley Swan, president of CUPE’s Air Canada Component.
On July 10th, Air Canada management notified flight attendants in Manitoba and Halifax, that they would be laid off in November.
The layoffs would affect 144 CUPE flight attendants in Winnipeg, 187 in Halifax and 300 in Vancouver.
Since then the union has launched a campaign to fight the cuts and the closures.
The union won a victory July 25 when federal labour minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn rejected Air Canada’s request to skip the consultation process required under the Canada Labour Code when laying off more than 50 employees.
CUPE’s Air Canada Component representatives vowed to keep up the fight and promised more action.
More than 3200 people have emailed their MPs about the flight attendant layoffs.
About 100 Air Canada flight attendants and supporters marched at the Calgary International Airport.
There were over 100 supporters at Pearson International Airport in Toronto and another 150 gathered at Vancouver International Airport.
In Montreal, almost 100 flight attendants demonstrated outside the departure lounge of Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport.
There were over 350 marchers in downtown Winnipeg and 100 people rallied in front of city hall in Halifax.
Manitoba Premier Gary Doer told the Winnipeg rally job cuts in Winnipeg make no economic sense. “We are the only airport in Canada that has a 24-hour capacity, and we’re also building and building.”
MPs Alexa McDonough and Geoff Regan joined Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly joined the Halifax rally.
Attendants warned the base closures will mean fewer workers in those places to help out with rescheduled flights or staff shortages.