OTTAWA – Air Canada recently purchased an aviation maintenance facility in El Salvador that specializes in Airbus and Boeing aircrafts. Three weeks ago, the company announced major layoffs of more than 700 highly qualified aviation maintenance personnel in Vancouver. Further layoffs are expected to be announced in Winnipeg and Montreal. The virtual shut-down of these high quality maintenance facilities means that Canadian expertise built up over decades will be lost.
“This is just another sign of the Harper government’s refusal to take action for Canadian jobs. We have seen it in sector after sector. All of the substantial aviation maintenance expertise in Vancouver will be lost,” said NDP Transport Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster).
Julian and Dawn Black (New Westminster-Coquitlam) joined hundreds of unionized airport workers in a mass demonstration on March 24, 2007 at the Vancouver International Airport to protest the layoffs of over 700 heavy maintenance jobs by Air Canada.
“The Conservatives must take action to stop the hemorrhaging of good, family-supporting Canadian jobs and stop the outsourcing of highly-skilled and well-paying Canadian jobs to lower cost maintenance facilities in El Salvador and in China,” said Black.
“The job loss is another huge blow to British Columbia, already suffering from thousands of lost jobs due to Harper’s inaction on the pine beetle epidemic and the softwood lumber sell-out,” said Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas). “BC now has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada. It is clear Stephen Harper has abandoned BC and is allowing the prosperity gap to grow,” stated Siksay.
“Workers’ rights have been chipped away at in Canadian legislation over the past 25 years. We saw almost nothing in the federal budget for Canadian workers and their families, and to add further insult to injury, the Liberals and Conservatives joined forces to defeat strong anti-scab legislation. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that workers’ rights are protected under the law,” NDP Labour Critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East).
The NDP is calling for a fair trade policy that makes workers and the environment a priority, and to develop job-supporting sector strategies for industries from auto to aerospace to agriculture, that will ensure Canada has a leadership role in the industry and to keep jobs in Canada.