Pandemic of Excuses Harms Canada’s Aviation Workers

July 4, 2022 /CNW/ – Canadians who have flown recently know the country’s aviation industry is under strain as it tries to cope with the huge demand for travel that was built up over the last several years. While airlines have been eager to blame staffing shortages and government policy for their struggles, Unifor Local 7378 – representing pilots at Sunwing Airlines, is telling management to look in the mirror when it comes to resolving operational delays and making life easier for Canada’s traveling public and its employees.

“We know Canada’s aviation industry is broken right now and companies are counting on employees to go the extra mile to resolve issues,” said Barret Armann, President of Local 7378.

Sunwing pilots recently negotiated a contract that made monetary concessions with the understanding the pandemic had placed major financial pressures on the airline. Despite management reassurances that the company was not a candidate for a sale or merger, Sunwing was sold to the WestJet Group of Companies shortly after the contract was signed. As Sunwing has ramped up operations post pandemic further savings are being sought via contract violations, reaching into the already struggling pilot’s pockets for more.

Unifor Local 7378 representing the Sunwing pilots has now filed an unfair labour practice complaint against Sunwing Airlines. The Union believes that the Collective Agreement was bargained without the honest disclosure required by good faith negotiations. Sunwing pilots signed a contract under the understanding that Sunwing remain an independent Company. If the pilots knew that Sunwing was to be sold to the WestJet Group, the union would have negotiated for equal pay and protections for its member’s bases, rank, etc.

“If Sunwing is worried about staffing issues, recruitment, retention and want their employees to work hard, going that extra mile the easiest thing they could do is roll back the concessions and be honest about the future. Treat your pilots well and both parties can share in the long term success. We all want a future that’s bright,” concluded Armann.