Air Canada flight attendants lose arbitration bid for severance
September 17, 2008
It's not what they expected. Air Canada flight attendants have lost their arbitration bid seeking severances for workers who will be laid off because of base closings in Halifax and Winnipeg. The union representing the flight attendants said they feel let down by arbitratorís ruling which will affect the layoff of 500 airline workers.
Lesley Swann, president of the Air Canada component of The Canadian Union of Public Employees, said 'The majority of the attendants get virtually nothing to help them cope with the life changes they now have to deal with.'
The airline is offering to pay $5.5 million to help workers to retrain and find new jobs, for an annual cost reduction of $33 million. An original offer of $10,000 per employee has been eliminated.
There will be minimal relocation support, some commuting assistance and a job sharing option for only some of those choosing to stay with the airline, the union said.
Air Canada plans to lay off up to 2,000 employees in November as it cuts capacity by 7% by closing bases in Halifax and Winnipeg.
It will offer a maximum of 200 special leaves of absence for between three and 36 months.
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