CAW Aims to Soften Blow on Workers After Devastating Layoff Announcement



    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - Devastated by Air Canada's announcement earlier
today that it will cut 2000 jobs from its Canadian operations by the end of
2008, CAW officials are committed to mitigate the impact on these job cuts on
members. 400 CAW members will be impacted by these job cuts across the
country.
    Company officials told the union that they intend to scale back flight
capacity in response to escalating fuel costs, which is costing the company an
additional $1 billion in year-over-year costs.
    The airline plans to reduce domestic flight capacity by 2 per cent,
trans-border capacity by 13 per cent and international capacity by 7 per cent,
the bulk of which is due to a nearly 19 per cent reduction in flights to Asia.
    "Today's announcement is another reminder that airline workers continue
to suffer from the economic consequences of deregulation, excess capacity,
over-competition and now major fuel prices increases," said CAW President Buzz
Hargrove.
    Major restructuring efforts by the company (the most recent being Air
Canada's CCAA exercise in 2003-04) have done little to prepare them for this
fuel price shock, let alone a possible economic recession, which would have
even worse consequences for workers, Hargrove said.
    The Air Canada job cuts are the latest in a string of bad news
announcements to hit the airline industry, with thousands more job losses
scheduled for Delta, Qantas, Continental Airlines and others.
    "At this point, we need to ensure that we protect the interests of our
members and that they are not expected to carry an unreasonable workload,"
said Bob Orr, assistant to the CAW national secretary-treasurer Jim O'Neil.
"We will be calling on Air Canada to reduce the numbers of layoffs and to
soften the blow for those who are affected. We will be looking at all
options."
    Union officials are scheduled to begin talks with the company to discuss
possible alternatives for affected customer sales and service agents in the
coming weeks.
    "The company has agreed to open up discussions on ways we can mitigate
the impact of these layoffs on our members, which is encouraging," said CAW
Local 2002 President Leslie Dias, representing over 5,000 Air Canada employees
across the country. "Our union will play a key role in these talks."
    "Our members have helped keep this airline alive in the past years, and
we'll make sure the company remembers that as we continue to deal with this
crisis," said Dias.
    The union fears that the ripple effect of these 400 job cuts will impact
CAW members in other bargaining units across the country.
    The CAW and Air Canada are scheduled to begin collective bargaining over
the next year, which marks the first round of negotiations since the company
came out of bankruptcy protection in 2004.





For further information:

For further information: Angelo DiCaro, CAW Communications, (416)
606-6311

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Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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