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Air Canada maintenance workers stage sit in

March 9, 2011, Winnipeg - Dozens of Air Canada maintenance workers upset about the possibility of future job losses have launched a sit-in inside Tory MP Steven Fletcher's constituency office in Winnipeg.


March 9, 2011
By The Canadian Press

The workers are all members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

They fear the move to transfer hundreds of their jobs to Aveos could leave many of them without jobs in the future.

Aveos was a company created for plane maintenance as part of Air Canada's emergence from bankruptcy in 2004.

Union spokesman Kevin Polonuk and 60 others said they wanted to speak to Fletcher and to Transport Minister Chuck Strahl about what the union believes is a violation of the Air Canada Act.

Polonuk said the act, formally known as the Air Canada Public Participation Act, includes provisions for Air Canada to keep operational and overhaul centres in Winnipeg, Montreal and Mississauga.

It was signed when Air Canada went from being a Crown corporation to a private company.

Polonuk said employees are now being told they have to choose between staying at Air Canada, where they have seniority and pensions, or go to Aveos.

But Polonuk said only 15 of the company's 500 workers in Winnipeg will be able to stay with Air Canada and the workers fear that Aveos could shut down the Canadian facilities in future and do the work at its facility in El Salvador.

Last week, Strahl said in Ottawa that Aveos has told the government there will be no job losses and he said he didn't believe the move to Aveos violated the act.

Fletcher could not immediately be reached for comment.