CUPE slams new round of cuts at Air Canada

    OTTAWA, Jan. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada has announced it will lay off
345 flight attendants in the airline's latest round of cuts. The Canadian
Union of Public Employees represents the flight attendants, and CUPE National
President Paul Moist is deeply concerned about service. "Air Canada has
decided to squeeze more money out of its passengers and workers by reducing
the number of flights and service quality onboard. The management has already
cut 600 flight attendant positions and closed two flight attendants bases in
2008 - an unnecessary move which contributed to mayhem in Canadian airports
during the holidays."
    Air Canada had blamed high fuel costs for its previous round of cuts.
Since then, the price of oil has collapsed. "We are not aware of any liquidity
issue - the company has raised over 500 million dollars in December. What we
know is that our members will soon enter bargaining. They are the ones who
kept the company afloat in 2003-04 with significant concessions. They are the
ones who got the company a 'Best In-Flight Services in North America' award
last December. They are now overworked because the company keeps trimming
jobs. This is no way to treat your staff," added Moist.
    The 345 layoffs come after Air Canada has commenced the use of scab
"training specialists" in place of flight attendants in December. "Air Canada
managers seem to be setting the stage for confrontation and disruption around
bargaining. Our union will respond to these bullying tactics. CEO Montie
Brewer should wonder how Canadian travelers will appreciate such a rapidly
deteriorating climate," concluded Moist.
    The Air Canada Component of CUPE represents more than 5,700 flight
attendants based in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Their contract
is due to expire on June 30, 2009.

For further information:

For further information: CUPE media relations, (613) 808-0675

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