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Flight attendants have been given the raw deal that more than 180 of them will be laid off in Nova Scotia and across Canada over 600 will no longer have work.
The news came down the wire last week and no one was more surprised than the attendants and their union, CUPE Local 4090. In the past, when Air Canada bemoaned it just couldn't keep afloat, the unions were included in the conversations to voice what they could do to help. This time around, however, the news was just handed to them as a result of closed-meetings. In total, Air Canada wants to can 2,000 employees and reduce their fleet in response to rising fuel prices.
For some attendants there is hope of retaining their jobs but that's only if they are willing to relocate to another city where their seniority would trump that of another. All in all, Air Canada's announcement will create a small pandemonium for families across the country.
A spokesperson for Air Canada stated the situation of flying in Canada has changed and it is no longer cost effective to retain all of their employees.
In truth, though, this is a case of the kettle calling the pot black and Air Canada is refusing to accept it is a major player behind the changes that have lead to the termination of more than 600 flight attendants. For years we have listened to representatives from Air Canada and other flight companies say they need more money from the government; that with the changing times new service fees would be added to the price of flights. As early as 2003, CUPE co-operated with Air Canada during these hard times and accepted a 13.5 per cent wage cut just to guarantee their jobs while Air Canada was restructuring.
Given the union's willingness to co-operate then, clearly Air Canada's arbitrary decision to start laying off large numbers of employees is an affront to the hard work everyone has done to help this corporation during the days when it sought bankruptcy protection and while there is very little government can do stop these layoffs short of pleading with its managers, as the guardians of Canadian interests, our policy makers will hopefully think twice before dolling out any cash deal to the company in the future.

Organizations: Air Canada

Geographic location: Canada, Nova Scotia

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