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The country’s largest union wants to meet with Transport Minister David Collenette over the future of the nation’s airline industry.

It’s time for the federal government to start talking to some of the people who’ve worked to build this industry, said Judy Darcy, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, whose Airline Division represents 7,500 flight attendants at Air Canada and Canadian Airlines.

After abdicating responsibility for the maintenance of a Canadian airline industry, the government must now act in the public interest rather than play a behind-the-scenes role in which it backs another market solution free of even the legal constraints of the Competition Act.

Darcy says Canadian communities need answers about base closures and regional airlines. Where is the protection for Canadian consumers? What about job losses that will obviously be much larger than predicted? Where are the assurances this country will maintain a stable airline sector?

The response by flight attendants to the current corporate take-over bid illustrates just what’s at stake, says Denise Hill, president of the Airline Division.

The flight attendants at Canadian, a battered victim of de-regulation, are desperate for a life-line to ensure the survival of their enterprise and jobs. At Air Canada, the flight attendants are aghast, seeing a leveraged buy-out plan back by U.S. interests that will incur thousands of job losses.

In a letter to Collenette requesting a meeting, Darcy and Hill say the Minister must assume an active role in the current restructuring to ensure a viable Canadian industry and make sure proposals are more than a quick fix for a fast buck.

For further information:
Judy Darcy, (613) 237-1590 ext 223
Denise Hill, (416) 798-3399 ext 227

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