Loading articles...

Air Canada, Westjet, Transat, Greyhound laying off employees due to COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 20, 2020 at 10:22 pm EST

AIR CANADA LAYING OFF MORE THAN 5,000

Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 employees, according to the union which represents the airline’s flight attendants.

Approximately 3,600 Air Canada mainline employees and all 1,549 members at Air Canada Rouge are being temporarily laid off effective April 30, according to Wesley Lesosky, President of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The union represents roughly 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.

“This has been the most challenging time any of us will likely ever experience as flight attendants,” said Lesosky in a statement issued late Thursday night. “Our members have been on the front lines of this crisis since day one, and it has been a tough journey ever since. Our hearts go out to all of our members, especially those who fell sick while doing their job.”

Earlier this week, Air Canada announced it would significantly reduce flying capacity due to falling demand and government-ordered border closures as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

CUPE says its hopeful conditions in the industry will improve and allow Air Canada to bring flight attendants back. In the meantime, members who are laid off – or facing “off-duty status” – will be able to collect Employment Insurance and access benefits.

AIR TRANSAT LAYS OFF 2,000 FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

The Union tells CityNews Air Transat has laid off their 2,000 flight attendants. The airline, which announced the layoffs on Wednesday, confirmed the cuts were caused by Covid-19.

WESTJET REDUCING CABIN CREW STAFF BY MORE THAN 50%

A CUPE spokesperson has adds that WestJet is reducing the capacity and staffing levels of cabin crew members by more than 50%, saying that roughly 2,0000 employees are impacted and other departments may also see further cuts.

“For now the layoffs are for 30 days but the situation continues to be fluid, and we don’t know what will be the new reality after that period,” the union said.

WestJet did not confirm the number of layoffs it has issued to employees, saying more details will be released once made available.

GREYHOUND LAYING OFF DRIVERS, MAINTENANCE, TERMINAL STAFF

Airlines aren’t the only companies to be issuing layoffs. Greyhound Canada says it will be laying off a “significant number” of employees when it reduces its scheduled service by 55 per cent on March 25.

In a letter sent to Greyhound employees, the company says it will be laying off “drivers, maintenance and terminal staff, and non union employees in all locations.”

“As Canadians have seen, the passenger transportation industry has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with several carriers substantially reducing or suspending their operations,” said Stuart Kendrick, Senior Vice President of the Company in Canada in a statement provided to CityNews. “Unfortunately, this service reduction requires us to lay off a significant number of our valued employees.”

Greyhound Canada says it is in talks with the government about maintaining a portion of their existing network, adding it is prepared to assist the government in transporting essential personnel and cargo as part of the national effort to combat COVID-19.