Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants as the airline suspends service due to the coronavirus, a union official has revealed.
Wesley Lesosky of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has announced the carrier is laying off about 3,600 mainline employees and all of Air Canada Rouge’s 1,549 flight attendants.
The union represents roughly 10,000 flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.
The layoffs, which will take affect in April, affect about 60 per cent of flight attendants at the two segments.
The cuts are said to be temporary and employees will be returned to their duties once the airline is able to reinstate its schedule.
Air Canada said Wednesday that it will suspend the majority of its international and U.S. flights by March 31st in response to the Canada-U.S. border closure, falling demand and other decisions made by governments as officials try and halt the spread of COVID-19.
Rouge, for one, will have zero flying hours for the month of April 2020, as noted in a post on CUPE local 4092's website.
“This has been the most challenging time any of us will likely ever experience as flight attendants,” Lesosky said in a statement 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.”
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