VANCOUVER- In response to a petition submitted by CUPE Airline Division President Wesley Lesosky, signed by over 17,000 Canadians, regarding the issue of unpaid work in the airline sector, the federal government, as stated in an official response from Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan’s office on November 3, has indicated that it will not address the problem.
The petition urged the government to close legal loopholes that allow major airlines to require flight attendants to work without compensation, even though, on average, they work 35 unpaid hours per month.
CUPE Accuses Trudeau Govt
O’Regan’s response affirmed that these loopholes would remain open, which has led to concerns that the government is not prioritizing the rights of airline workers and is siding with the billion-dollar airline companies.
Lesosky expressed his disappointment, stating, “These are not the words of a minister who cares about workers being exploited by billion-dollar companies,” and questioned the government’s commitment to addressing the issue.
CUPE’s Airline Division initiated the Unpaid Work Won’t Fly campaign in April 2023 to raise awareness about the problem of mandatory unpaid work within the airline industry. As part of their campaign, they submitted a petition to the House of Commons.
Wesley Lesosky expressed his gratitude to the numerous CUPE members and citizens who supported and signed the petition.
He also emphasized the determination of their 18,500 members and their refusal to accept the current situation. Lesosky acknowledged that the fight ahead might not be easy.
Still, they see it as the initial phase of a broader effort and remain optimistic about bringing an end to this exploitative practice, whether or not they receive assistance from the federal government.
CUPE intends to file grievances through the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). Lesosky pointed out that the government’s refusal to address the issue could lead to potential job actions during future rounds of negotiations, which may affect the public negatively.
He conveyed his hope that the government maintain its hands-off stance if such situations arise in future bargaining discussions.
Stay tuned with us. Further, follow us on social media for the latest updates.