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The Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said it is appalled by reports that WestJet is seeking an exemption to the Canada Labour Code to make it easier to terminate its workers, and is calling on the federal government to reject their request.
WestJet is reportedly asking the federal government to exempt the airline from labour rules that require 16-weeks’ notice of termination for group termination, as it seeks to lay off over half of its workers.
“Flight attendants understand the strain that COVID-19 is putting on the airline industry, because we’re the ones who have been working through it on the front lines, and sometimes even getting sick because of it,” said Wesley Lesosky, president of the Air Canada Component of CUPE. “Flight attendants have suffered enough because of COVID-19, and it’s shameful to see WestJet acting so heartlessly towards its workers.”
CUPE believes the request flies in the face of the very purpose of the Labour Code protections, and that the government should reject WestJet’s request outright.
“Our demand to the government is simple: respect the law, and tell WestJet to respect its workers,” said Lesosky.
CUPE represents 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, as well as 3,500 flight attendants at WestJet.