Air Canada laying off over 5,000 employees during coronavirus pandemic

Mar 20 2020, 11:33 am

Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, the union representing Air Canada flight attendants, said it’s saddened to hear the airline is laying off all 1,549 unionized employees with Air Canada Rouge, and 3,600 employees at its flagship airline.

“This has been the most challenging time any of us will likely ever experience as flight attendants,” CUPE’s Air Canada Component President Wesley Lesosky said in a statement.

“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.”

Air Canada’s layoff announcement comes a day after the company said it’s scaling back flights because of reduced customer demand and border closures during the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs are temporary, according to CUPE, and are expected to last until April 30, 2020, at the earliest. The union said it’s hopeful conditions will improve enough for Air Canada to bring flight attendants back on board.

The laid off Air Canada employees are being moved to “off duty” status in the company. They’ll be able to collect Employment Insurance (EI), according to CUPE. The union represents about 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.

Daily Hive reached out to Air Canada for comment but did not hear back.

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