New layoffs at Air Transat

Faced with the major Air Transat layoffs announced for November, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is calling on the federal government to immediately deploy rapid COVID-19 screening at Canadian airports.

The Air Transat component of
CUPE has just learned that the number of its flight attendant members will drop
to less than 160 in November, from a total of 2,000 employees in normal times.
Air Transat’s Vancouver base will be closed
completely until further notice.

After the total cessation of activities
last April 1, followed by the resumption of flights
on July 23, the number of flight attendants reached
a modest high of 355 last August.

“All of our information
indicates that Air Transat’s resumption of activities in the summer and fall of
2020 was totally safe for passengers and staff. A rapid screening system that
provides pre-boarding results would be a crucial addition for reviving the
airline industry. We sometimes forget that more than 600,000 jobs in Canada depend on this industry, directly or
indirectly. What we need is an efficient federal screening
program,” said Julie Roberts, president
of CUPE’s Air Transat component.

The union also noted that a
broad coalition of aviation employees will demonstrate on Parliament Hill at
noon on October 20, demanding concrete measures
from the Government of Canada to ensure the safe
recovery of the aviation industry.

Air Transat flight attendants
are safety professionals whose primary role is to protect passengers. They are
divided into three local unions, corresponding to their three bases: CUPE 4041
(Montreal-YUL), CUPE 4047 (Toronto-YYZ) and CUPE 4078 (Vancouver-YVR). The Air
Transat component oversees these three local unions.

In total, CUPE represents more
than 13,100 members in air transport in Canada,
including workers at Air Transat, Air Canada Rouge, Sunwing, CALM Air, Canadian
North, WestJet, Cathay Pacific, First Air, and Air Georgian.

The Canadian Union of Public
Employees is Canada’s largest union, with
700,000 members across the country. CUPE represents workers in health care,
emergency services, education, early learning and child care, municipalities,
social services, libraries, utilities, transportation, airlines and more. We
have more than 70 offices across the country, in every province.

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