The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has accused Air Canada of “improving its balance sheet by leaving thousands of employees” with sums linked to the federal wage subsidy program.
Since the spring, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (SSUC) has allowed companies with a significant reduction in revenue to obtain financial assistance from Ottawa to pay 75% of workers’ wages. Up to 47 847 per week.
Butter and butter money
The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents Air Canada’s approximately 9,000 flight attendants, describes the layoffs, the most recent of which occurred on January 13 and affected 800 members. Instead, the union wants the company to take advantage of the subsidy program for inactive employees as well as those who are still working.
“We created the SSUC so that workers can get jobs when the economy recovers. Why is Air Canada refusing to pay the workers who built the company to continue their jobs?” Wesley Lesowski, CUPE Air Canada Component President
The Canadian Civil Service has accused Sydneycat Airlines of seeking “butter and money” to take advantage of the subsidy, but is still making “massive redundancies”.
With the recent 1,900 layoffs, Air Canada estimates its first-quarter flight capacity to be 20% for the corresponding period of 2019.
The company has already carried out 20,000 layoffs in the spring.
“Workers who continue their jobs through SSUC also keep their benefits, which is very important during the epidemic,” the union explains.
Air Canada, for its part, said it wants to protect as many jobs as possible through the fair and responsible use of the wage subsidy. “Compared to 2019, the number of passengers has dropped by more than 90%, and […] We still have 50% of our workforce, ”said Pascal Derry, a transporter spokeswoman.