“No blank cheques” – Clear message from Jagmeet Singh on Support for Aviation
Toronto, ON – “Air Canada and other providers must be mandated to keep jobs in Canada! That includes all service jobs, maintenance and manufacturing. Let’s keep our Aviation industry Canadian!”
That was today’s message from IAM Canadian General Vice-President Stan Pickthall, who participated in a press conference today with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, NDP Labour Critic Scott Duvall and four other unions, speaking about the future of airline and aerospace industries in Canada. The unions all have members working at airports across the country.
Singh opened the press conference by acknowledging that many workers are hurting and that a disproportionate number are women and racialized workers. “Empty words are not enough,” he said. “Airlines around the world have received more than $123 billion in financial help but Canada has only put up $300 million. This is unacceptable. We need to focus on jobs, job maintenance and workers. We need it now! The money must be tied to workers. There must be no blank cheques!” Singh criticized Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberals for not showing leadership on the issue. “When we look out for one another, we do better. We will keep on fighting!” Singh also thanked the unions for their continued fight.
Scott Duvall, NDP Labour Critic said of the federal government, “We know Marc Garneau is meeting with stakeholders, but we don’t know who they are. Many highly-trained workers are leaving the field. We can’t afford that. Workers must be included in these discussions.”
IAM Canadian General Vice-President Stan Pickthall underscored airlines, aerospace and consumer confidence in his remarks, “Airlines must be mandated to keep jobs in Canada. The downstream effects of layoffs in the airline industry have already been felt. Canadian aerospace has been deeply affected in the cancellation of aircraft orders and related jobs. And there simply cannot be any executive compensation attached to relief provided to the industry.”
“Air Transportation industry has been impacted more than any other industry and fully 50% of IAM members have been laid off with no sign of when they will return. Billions of dollars of revenue have been lost and passenger loads have dropped by 90%. Canada must learn from models like that of Germany where the country took a 20% stake in Lufthansa to protect its investment. Air transport and its infrastructure are essential parts of our economy. They help protect Canadian sovereignty in transportation and boost the economy of our urban centers and regions. It is crucial that a federal assistance plan must absolutely take these elements into consideration.”
Pickthall also referenced the 2019 IAM report on the aerospace industry, Grounded Potential, which outlines a national strategy on supporting Canadian aerospace.
Pickthall went on to say that consumer confidence is critical to the health of the airline industry. “If the public isn’t flying, the industry suffers. We must restore that confidence. The development of vaccines will help and rapid-testing must be at no cost to the traveller. It is safer to travel on planes than go into big-box stores and we need to let the public know that,” he said.
Pickthall concluded by thanking the work of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, Scott Duvall and others in the NDP Caucus.
CUPE, UFCW, USW and Unifor also participated in the press conference and made remarks.
Although Niki Ashton, NDP Critic for Transportation, couldn’t attend the press conference due to an emergency, Pickthall thanked her for her continued work in her portfolio.