Message from GVP Dave Chartrand
Message from GVP Dave Chartrand
One More Obstacle to Airline Recovery
Today’s announcement made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presents yet another obstacle in the IAM’s fight to preserve the aviation industry, where our members and thousands of other workers are being left out in the cold without support. With the requirement for mandatory hotel-quarantine, at a cost estimated to be $2,000, the government has yet again raised the bar on restrictions faced by the transportation industry. This will further result in downstream impacts upon aerospace and maintenance providers.
We understand the need to take measures to protect public health, but we also point to the devastating impact on the industry, which makes finding a way to support air transportation all the more urgent. Yet still we have radio silence on supports for tens of thousands of middle-class workers who rely on this industry to feed their families.
The IAM has been calling on the Trudeau Government for almost a year to give some real assistance to these workers.
Just yesterday, we made an urgent plea to the Federal Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities: “There must be real federal supports for displaced transportation and airport workers, and they must be implemented immediately.”
The IAMAW is committed to working with all relevant stakeholders and, ultimately we call for development of a sector specific action plan with goals that will stimulate and rebuild the industry.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) is the leading union in the aerospace sector and air transportation industry. The IAMAW represents over 55,000 members across Canada, of which 22,000 work in the aviation, aerospace and air transportation sector. We represent members at Air Canada, Sunwing, Air Transat, Swissport, British Airways, Garda World, G4S, Menzies Aviation, AAS, ATS, Sky Café and others. Our members work across the aviation value chain, and have experienced the devastating effects of the global pandemic firsthand. We also represent workers in aircraft parts manufacturing, aircraft overhaul and repair, screening services across airports in Canada, automotive parts manufacturing, the hospitality sector, custom paint additives, industrial pump manufacturing, plastics manufacturing to woodworking.
Lack of Action in Aviation Sector a “Black Mark on Liberals’ Watch”
28 January, 2021
For immediate release
Toronto, ON – “It has been a full year since COVID-19 became a reality in Canada, and the Liberal government has stood by and watched this sector slip further into crisis.” Strong words from Political Action Representative Derek Ferguson headlined the IAM presentation to the Federal Transportation Committee.
Today, yet again, the IAM called on the federal government to move urgently on a much-needed plan for the aviation sector. The IAM has repeatedly called for quick and decisive action, but the calls have fallen on deaf ears.
In a brief presented to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities today, the IAM outlined the challenges and the devastation experienced by the aviation sector.
“As the hardest-hit sector,” continued Ferguson, “Air transportation is expected to experience a slow recovery, as well as a fundamental change. We have been vociferous advocates of support for the industry and encouraged employers to take advantage of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), while acknowledging the gaps in support programs to date. However, it is becoming evident that CEWS alone is not enough as an intervention; direct funding is critical.”
“A recovery is not expected until 2025, and companies in this sector will not survive by raising funds independently. Without timely action and a robust sector-specific strategy, several industries face decimation.”
Across Canada, air passenger capacity is more than 90% down, 28 stations have ceased operations, leading to job losses, and isolation of communities that depend on air service for goods, services, and medical supplies. “How much worse does the situation need to get before the Liberals react; the lack of action is beyond disappointing, it is infuriating,” stated Stan Pickthall, IAM Canadian General Vice-President.
“Canada’s Liberals are miles behind other countries when it comes to support for this crucial sector. Stop dithering and get something done! Canada just observed one year since COVID-19 entered our borders, yet the Federal government continues to ignore air transportation workers and the sector in general!”
In the air transportation sector alone, 10,000 IAM members are currently laid off, but there are numerous others across Canada who are facing economic hardship, if not poverty. If left unchecked, this crisis will affect generations of Canadians. The effect of the crisis in this sector will have far-reaching implications that will take years to rebuild.
The IAM demands the government immediately establish a Sector Council Working Group to implement a program that helps sustain the airlines, including small air carriers. We also propose that the government maintain a domestic and regional air network, as a healthy domestic air network will be the backbone of recovery in this sector.
Without swift action, this sector will be obliterated. Pickthall has a very clear message to the Liberal government: “Mr. Trudeau, the death of Canada’s aviation industry will be a black mark on your watch!”
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) is the leading union in the aerospace sector and air transportation industry. The IAMAW represents over 55,000 members across Canada, of which 22,000 work in the aviation, aerospace and air transportation sector.
Read the IAM Brief to the Federal Transportation Committee (PDF)
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For more information:
Derek Ferguson, IAM Political Action Coordinator email@example.com
Stan Pickthall, Canadian General Vice-President firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Saptel, Communications email@example.com