October 17, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

WestJet and Air Canada have asked their employees to work for free

WestJet and Air Canada have asked their employees to work for free

In an internal message from CBC / Radio-Canada, Air Canada’s Vice President of Rich Steer stated a need Emergency assistance.

Our partner airports are at the end of their intelligence, which has led to significant flight cancellations and missed connections., He writes. We especially need volunteers to come to the airport and provide support today.

The message was addressed specifically to executives who were available to report to Toronto Pearson Airport.

Similarly, the carrier WestJet sent an email to its employees asking them to come to Calgary Airport. Assisting passengers in need of wheelchairs .

This is our opportunity to show what WestJetters value and to help our colleagues when they need it. , Written in this internal note signed by Colleen Tainan, Vice President of Airports.

The call was sent to all WestJet employees in late August, including those who were later called back to work Their removal.

Dissatisfied communities

The Uniformed Union, which represents many categories of employees in both companies, was very upset when it received the internal memos. According to Leslie Dias, manager of Unifor Airline, not a single carrier contacted them in advance to find an arrangement.

We heard about it because of our angry members, She explains.

In the case of Air Canada, volunteer executives performed tasks that employees could do while waiting to return to work. According to Leslie Dias, the company has apologized for handling the resource shortage situation.

In an email response, Air Canada stated that it was Aiming to support passengers due to border delays at Pearson Airport, a short-term response .

However, uniform anger against WestJet is strong. Frankly, it’s a shame. They took their job from them and are now asking for volunteers, s’insurge Mme Dias.

According to Unifor, the call of the volunteers is related to subcontracting the territory removed from the union employees to the French company Samsic in November 2020.

Our interview requests were rejected by pilots and flight attendants who received a call from volunteers. However, in communications to their members, they asked them to refuse to work for free.

[WestJet] Asks you to work for free. This is not acceptable.

A quote from:Canadian Union of Public Employees

In an email response, WestJet raised concerns with recruiting staff.

This is not uncommon in the corporate culture, as many of our WestJetters, including our management team, CEO and president, have called for help with wheelchair-bound passengers in Calgary this month as our service provider struggles to keep up with demand., Spokesman Morgan Bell said.

Complex restoration

Despite the anger, the airline acknowledged that the airline was facing a difficult situation. We can not close the whole sector and hope to restart it in an instant, Mrs. Dias agreed.

According to data collected by the Canadian Air Transport Security Agency, 15 major airports in the country are expected to handle an average of 80,000 passengers by the end of August, three to four times higher than the same period a year earlier.

In its email, WestJet said it was currently flying more than 400 from 30 flights a day during the epidemic. The company expects 9,000 employees to be back by the end of this year.

According to US Press reports, Delta and American Airlines made similar calls for volunteers in June.

Legal request

According to Calgary employment lawyer Sarah Coder, the voluntary request is not illegal. However, it also puts employees in unpleasant situations, especially if these workers are not recalled to their old position, she stressed.

The thing is, companies can track who works for free. If you look like a good teammate, will you call yourself back to work faster than the rejected one?, Explains Mrs. Kodore.

She recommended that all employees who find themselves in such a situation clarify these types of questions in writing with the company. Responses should also be provided on voluntary insurance issues.

With information from Kyle Box