MONTRÉAL, Nov. 24, 2011 /CNW/ - The Air Transat pilots', represented by
the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), reacted to the
announcement of the layoff of 17 pilots and denouned the airline's
holding company (Transat A.T.) subcontracting strategy which utilizes
seasonal foreign workers.
Last Friday, Air Transat sent layoff notices to 17 of its pilots. Based
in Toronto, and hailing from Québec, Ontario and Alberta, these pilots
will be out of work starting December 19. Air Transat cited its recent
financial results and a decrease in flight hours as justification for
the layoffs. The Company has not yet ruled out the possibility of more
layoffs. The holding company, Transat A.T., has an agreement with
CanJet Airlines to operate a portion of Air Transat flights to southern
destinations this winter. Canjet will use additional seasonal aircraft
and hire foreign pilots to meet its staffing needs.
"These layoffs are a major blow, not only to Air Transat pilots, but to
all Canadian pilots," said Captain Sylvain Aubin, chairman of Air
Transat pilots' master executive council. "The fact that Transat A.T.,
through CanJet, is using foreign pilots when its own pilots are out of
work is reprehensible. It's time to put an end to these practices.
Despite there being unemployed pilots in Canada, the federal government
has authorized some airlines to hire foreign pilots under the Temporary
Foreign Worker Program. Reports indicate that this winter alone, Canjet
and Sunwing have hired over 35 and 180 foreign pilots respectively.
Capitan Dan Adamus, President of ALPA's Canada Board, added: "The hiring
of even a single foreign pilot, when there are unemployed Canadian
pilots, is unacceptable. The issue of hiring foreign pilots and its
impacts on the labour force are subjects that need to be taken
seriously by the federal government. Some airline managements have been
abusing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by using it for
competitive advantages instead of filling a labor shortage as
originally envisioned by the legislation."
ALPA Canada has been lobbying the government for changes to the
Temporary Foreign Worker Program and will be raising the issue again
when it appears before the Senate Permanent Committee on Transport and
Communication next Wednesday. The need to protect the jobs of Canadian
pilots is a priority issue for ALPA.
Air Transat is known for its international experience and wide-body
aircraft operations. The company markets its fleet in 26 countries,
with approximately 90 destinations throughout the world. Air Transat
employs 430 pilots based in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilots' union, representing
nearly 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada.
For more information, visit the ALPA website at: www.alpa.org.
SOURCE ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association Int'l)
For further information:
Information and interviews: Captain Sylvain Aubin, 514-332-4716