Hundreds of protesting airline workers aim anger at transport minister

Hundreds of protesting airline workers aim anger at transport minister

In a present of unity, greater than 200 aviation employees demonstrated Tuesday on Parliament Hill, calling on the federal authorities to launch a plan to soundly restart the {industry} crushed by COVID-19. 

Holding “SOS” and “mayday” indicators, grounded pilots, flight attendants, airport employees and different aviation employees repeated their requires monetary assist for the airline sector, together with low-cost, long-term loans for his or her airways. The employees additionally need Canada to ease journey restrictions by way of fast testing at airports and finish the 14-day quarantine interval when getting into the nation.

COVID-19 has crippled the {industry} and lower again operations dramatically. Main airways have scaled again regional routes and introduced main layoffs. This week, Air Transat stated it is reducing half of its remaining pilot positions.

Protesting aviation employees aimed their hovering anxiousness and anger at Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau. 

Air Transat captain Jeffrey Daniels raised a placard over his head with a picture of Garneau with a The place’s Waldo hat. Daniels stated he is been flying jets for greater than 20 years and was just lately laid off, introduced again for 3 months and obtained one other layoff discover this week.

He calls the state of affairs a prepare wreck. Daniels stated he is upset greater than six months have passed by and Garneau remains to be finding out choices for assist, however hasn’t publicly launched the probabilities.

“It is only a horrible feeling of uncertainty,” stated Daniels. “We do not know what the plan is. Many people are simply misplaced.”

At a number of factors, the gang chanted “The place’s Garneau? The place’s Garneau?”

A Fb group shaped with greater than 11,000 pilots, flight dispatchers, flight attendants, airport personnel, journey brokers and tour operators. A whole bunch descended on Parliament Hill Tuesday for a peaceable protest. (Ashley Burke/CBC Information)

Garneau was invited to the rally however did not attend as a result of he’s situated in Montreal, a COVID crimson zone, and is limiting his journey, based on a letter he despatched the organizer. His workplace stated Garneau is “actively working to place ahead options.”

“Our authorities is working very exhausting to attain this in a well timed manner, and what will likely be determined will likely be in the very best curiosity of Canadians,” stated press secretary Livia Belcea in a press release to CBC Information. 

Dwane Mightley, a flight attendant with Air Transat who hasn’t labored since March, stated he is sick of ready. He stated it has been painful and devastating to his household residing off the wage subsidy which is about $1,000 a month — sufficient to cowl his household’s childcare. 

“It has been demoralizing once you suppose one thing goes to be performed, they are going to be popping out with some optimistic information,” stated Mightley. 

“It is at all times we’re ready, we’re ready, we’re speaking. However there’s been no motion.”

Dwane Mightley, a flight attendant with Air Transat, stated it has been a ‘painful’ time. (Ashley Burke/CBC Information)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated there was motion and on Tuesday pointed to the wage subsidy program, which has “delivered over a billion {dollars} in assist to Canada’s main airways.”

“It has been important and necessary to maintain these airways going,” stated Trudeau at a information convention.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland additionally stated she spoke to the heads of main Canadian airways and with unions final week.

“It is positively a problem that we’re carefully and dealing on,” stated Freeland on the information convention.

The Air Line Pilots Affiliation (ALPA) stated it has been “respectfully lobbying for focused assist” for the {industry} for greater than half a 12 months. 

“We didn’t obtain any agency dedication from the federal government with respect to focused assist for the airline {industry}, and proper now phrases are merely not sufficient,” stated ALPA Canada President Tim Perry. “Every week we’re seeing pilot cuts, and the Transat pilots are the newest victims of this ongoing saga and why federal help is required much more urgently.”

Pilots affected by COVID-19 crippling the aviation sector peacefully demonstrated on Parliament Hill on Tuesday. (Ashley Burke/CBC Information)

CBC Information has reported the federal authorities is finalizing plans to subsidize some airways to re-establish flights to regional airports throughout the nation. Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic Leblanc instructed CTV Information the federal government is discussing taking a stake in main Canadian Airways to assist save them. 

Bloc Québécois transport critic Xavier Barsalou-Duval argues the gang on Parliament Hill on Tuesday reveals the federal government has “failed.”

“These persons are offended and should be listened to,” he instructed CBC Information on the rally. “The sign the federal government sends to them is that they are not that necessary. I believe it is necessary that Mr. Garneau hears them and that motion comes for the air transportation {industry}.”

He is additionally calling for an industry-specific support for airways, which has been one of many sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. He additionally introduced a petition to Parliament on Monday with greater than 30,000 signatures calling on the federal government to refund passengers for flights cancelled as a consequence of COVID-19. 

Lyne Gaboury, a flight attendant for greater than 30 years, stated employees have by no means seen something like this and deserve solutions. 

“I’ve by no means been this scared in my life,” she stated. 

Lyne Gaboury, a flight attendant for greater than 30 years, stated, ‘It is loopy we’re doing flights with 50 passengers on board as a result of folks cannot journey anymore.’ (Ashley Burke/CBC Information)

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