Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yesterday the federal government declared that Air Canada would not be exempted from the federal labour law in regards to their planned layoffs of not just flight attendants but also up to 2,000 other employees. Not that this is a "great victory" for, as the following article makes plain, this merely means that the company will have to create "layoff committees" with the union where they will- ahem- say they are laying off so and so. No doubt there were a certain number of "consultations", also known as back room talks, between Air Canada and the government before this announcement, and it was determined, as the company states, that it wouldn't even slow them down, let alone stop them.
Molly also wants to draw the readers' attention to the whole matter of anybody, being so confident as to ask for an "exemption from the law". Wow !!!! This says volumes. Hi...I want to speed and run red lights for the next few months. Can I please have an "exemption" from the law ? Pretty please. Can we say...."the purpose of the law" ? Anyways, here's the announcement from the CBC. No doubt the CUPE plans to oppose the closures and layoffs will continue apace, as if this meaningless announcement never happened.

Feds deny Air Canada exemption from labour rules
Ottawa has denied Air Canada's request for an exemption from federal labour law, a move which could make the implementation of planned 2,000 job cuts more difficult.

Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn said no Friday to Air Canada's application to obtain a holiday from some labour rules concerning the creation of layoff committees.

"After carefully examining the application, I have decided that there are insufficient grounds to grant a waiver to Air Canada," Blackburn said in a statement.

That means the Montreal-based air carrier will be forced to set up a committee with its employees to discuss severance and other aspects of the coming job cuts.

Air Canada noted that its existing contracts already contain provisions to establish such groups.(So why didn't AC do this in the first place????-Molly)

Even with the ruling, the carrier said it can still meet its Nov. 1 target for eliminating positions, more than eight per cent of its employee base.

"This decision will not delay(let alone stop-Molly) the plans to reduce our workforce," said Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick.

"It just adds an additional layer [of complexity].

In June, Air Canada announced plans to chop the jobs, which included more than 600 flight attendants. The carrier is seeking to reduce its flights and workforce in order to deal with sharply higher fuel costs.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, however, has been fighting the cuts by measures such as holding rallies in Toronto, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary and Vancouver.

"These drastic measures don't make sense," said Lesley Swann, president of CUPE's Air Canada bargaining unit, which represents 7,200 flight attendants.

"There's no justification for the closures, and cutting attendants is only going to reduce the company's capacity to provide passengers with quality services."

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