CanJet layoffs violate labour code, <br>says union

Airline tried to get pilots to sign termination packages without union consultation

CanJet pilots, and other employees, are accusing the airline of labour code violations following this week's job cuts announcement.

On Sept. 5, the airline's parent company, IMP Group Ltd., announced that 450 people would be out of work after it decided to get out of the scheduled airline business in favour of chartered flights. Sept. 10 is to be the last day of scheduled travel.

Two days after the announcement, representatives of the Air Line Pilots Association met with 94 CanJet pilots to discuss the announcement.

The union's vice-president, Capt. Dan Adams, said the airline failed to give a formal layoff notice to the union and that the company tried to get employees to sign a document, terminating their employment and authorizing a severance package. This amounted to coercion, which is a violation of the Canada Labour Code, he said.

The union also claimed IMP Group asked federal Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn for a labour code exemption to allow the company to go forward with restructuring talks.

The company has not commented on the union's allegations. It cited the price of fuel and rising airport fees for why CanJet was leaving the scheduled flights business.

A letter from IMP Group stated 376 people in Halifax and 80 in Toronto would lose their jobs. Of those employees 122 are flight attendants and 94 are pilots.

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