Vancouver, BC - Members of IAMAW Local Lodge 764 employed by Air Canada were joined by hundreds of other unionized airport workers in a mass solidarity demonstration this morning at Vancouver International Airport to protest the layoffs of 861 heavy maintenance jobs by Air Canada.
In mid-March, Air Canada announced the permanent layoffs of 700 IAMAW members from its Vancouver maintenance facility and the temporary layoffs of a further 161 following the termination of a heavy maintenance contract with Delta Airlines. Atlanta-based Delta signed a deal two years ago to outsource the heavy maintenance of its wide-body Boeing 767 jets to Air Canada Technical Services (ACTS). The five-year contract was terminated early because ACTS could not overcome the challenges of meeting Delta's cost requests. Delta transferred the work to a lower cost facility in Hong Kong.
The IAMAW members are angered with Air Canada's failure to even try to seek new work for the Vancouver facility. "When they needed to survive bankruptcy in 2004, management didn't hesitate to ask for our help," said IAMAW Local Lodge 764 President Tania Canniff. "Now when it's time to return the favour, management wouldn't lift a finger to help us by replacing the work they lost."
The protesters called for government intervention to stop the export of these highly skilled and well paying jobs to low cost maintenance facilities in El Salvador and China.
Airlines of many nations are increasingly contracting maintenance services to foreign operations in order to take advantage of low wages and the absence of government regulations. Air Canada recently purchased a majority controlling interest in TACA Aeroman, a maintenance operation in El Salvador that specializes in Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
"The maintenance of modern transport aircraft is a labour intensive and technically challenging industry that must not be controlled solely by the narrow profit motives of corporations like Air Canada," said Jim Coller IAMAW District 140 President and Directing General Chairperson.
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Vancouver, BC - Members of IAMAW Local Lodge 764 employed by Air Canada were joined by hundreds of other unionized airport workers in a mass solidarity demonstration this morning at Vancouver...
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