Harper Government Says Not Our Problem / Aveos Closes Its Doors / 2600 workers Out Of Work

Harper Government Scandals And Bad Decisions Part Two

Governments and companies play games with workers pensions, job security and benefits, but it is always the Canadian worker and as a result their families that are left to pay the price. Salary freezes, then salary cuts and when the worker says we can not work for any less, the powers that be shut the doors and outsource the jobs. This leaves thousands of hard-working Canadians out of work and it all starts with the Government of Canada paving the way making it all legal.

When the government sold Air Canada anyone with a half of a brain saw the writing on the wall and everyone with their heads not buried in the sand knew that Air Canada’s employees were going to be in for a rough time.  The Harper government which is seen already as an union busting government assured parliament and Canadians that what is now happening to this group of workers forced to accept a transfer to Aveos  could never happen.  Everybody who had nothing to protect politically, or gain financially knew that when Air Canada sold the heavy maintenance sector of Air Canada to Aveos, that it was simply a way for Air Canada to get rid of the pensions and benefits it was obligated to pay to this group of its employees and somewhere down the line move to get its planes service by someone else, somewhere else and for a whole lot cheaper and most likely not in Canada.   Air Canada promised to ensure that Aveos would receive enough contracts to keep it in business than reneged on the deal forcing Aveos to seek bankruptcy protection, close its doors and put 2600 Canadian skilled workers out of jobs overnight.  Let us review the history of why and how these workers are out of work.

  • The government deregulated the airline industry in the 1980s
  • The airline is privatized in 1988
  • In 2001 Air Canada acquires Canadian Airlines
  • In 2003 Air Canada files for bankruptcy protection
  • In 2004 -2005 a restructured Air Canada is back under the holding company ACE Aviation Holdings Inc
  • September 2008, ACTS, formerly Air Canada Technical Services/ACTS, is now  Aveos Fleet Performance Inc.
  •  As of December 2009, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. owns 27 percent of Air Canada and holds a 27.8 percent stake in Aveos, after selling its remaining stake in 2007 to private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. and Sageview Capital for $723 million
  • In February 2011 the CIRB ruled that Aveos and Air Canada are separate companies and gave ultimatums to the seconded Air Canada employees working at Aveos.   Air Canada remains its only customer for Aircraft overhaul as Jet Blue and America West have been sent to El Salvador to be repaired by Aeroman.
  • 2010 Air Canada is laying off more than 1,000 machinists seconded to work at maintenance and overhaul company Aveos Fleet Performance in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
  • In February 2011 the CIRB ruled that Aveos and Air Canada are separate companies and gave ultimatums to the seconded Air Canada employees working at Aveos.  Air Canada remains its only customer for Aircraft overhaul as Jet Blue and America West have been sent to El Salvador to be repaired by Aeroman.
  • 2012, 2600 people are now out of work with the sudden closure of Aveos in Vancouver, Montreal and Winnipeg with Aveos claiming they can not pay them until they get a bankruptcy order to do so.

I can not see how the Harper Government finds the nerve to even suggest that they can remove themselves from the problems of these workers, when it was a government decision to deregulate the airline industry, then privatize Air Canada, followed by the decision to change Canadian law to allow a merger of Air Canada to Canadian Airlines only to discover after the fact that Canadian was in far worse financial shape than originally stated.  What I am getting at is the Canadian government is fully responsible for what is going on, because this whole mess  all stems from the government’s bad decision in the first place and got compounded by the federal government turning a blind eye to what it knew was going to happen, because they in fact wanted it to happen. They the federal government needed to get the airline to sustain itself and they thought that if they could sell it off they could do exactly what they are doing now when jobs started to be cut and people started to cry foul and that was minimize or remove all together the political fall out, by claiming it was simply bad decisions made by two private businesses and no business of theirs, no matter how sad, or hurtful to the employees and their families. I believe that the only people who did not have a choice in how things went in this whole Air Canada, Canadian Government and Aveos bungled affair, were the employees of Air Canada the crown corporation when it was privatized and subsequently everything that happened after that fact and they are the only ones suffering today as government Air Canada and Aveos all take turns saying they are not to blame, it is the other guy.

In my view it is not important which of the governments was running Canada at the time and made the bad choices that led to these people being out of work today, but that it was the government of Canada that was responsible and remains responsible today. At the end of the day a government has the responsibility to right the mistakes of a predecessor, unless they agree that what the predecessor has done is good for the country and Canadians; is not what the federal government under Prime Minister Steven Harper did with The Meech Lake Accord, The Long Gun Registry, Canada’s crime legislation, Canada’s Immigration Act? The amazing thing in this whole thing is that the government of today is denying its responsibility, claiming that this is a business deal gone bad between two independent private businesses, but Harper and his government had no problem interfering in the privately owned Air Canada business when it took upon itself legislate an end to a  legitimate employee strike, forcing the members back to work with a lesser deal than the arbitration group was recommending.  It would seem that this government has known all along what would happen to these employees at Aveos and in fact al through Air Canada, had a hand in the planning of it along with Air Canada and has a vested interest in not calling Aveos before the standing committee, because it would be found guilty of duplicity if Aveos was put under direct questioning by the opposition parties.  The shame in all of this is that this was not just a hoast of bad decisions by 2 companies in my opinion, but an effort by the Government of Canada to get rid of a failing business, at the expense of the crown corporation employees and it is these employees along with their families that are suffering now. The government and Air Canada claims to have made sufficient safe guards to protect Air Canada employees, but from the onset it is clear that the only ones protected in this mess was themselves.

Air Canada makes several bad business decisions, the primary one buying Canadian Air not knowing how badly in debt they really were until after the fact.  They in turn try to cut their losses and force their employees in the heavy maintenance department to join Aveos against their will thinking that they are freeing themselves of any responsibility to those employees.  Aveos for whatever reason goes under and takes their employees with them completing the circle and opening the door for Air Canada to out source the airlines overhauling to El Salvador, China, or the United States.  When called on this point in committee, Air Canada could not say that they would for certain that they could keep these jobs in Canada.

My problem with all of this is that it is all a conspiracy to get Canada in line with the rest of the world’s idea on competitive rates, but it is all being done at the expense of the Canadian worker in backrooms in secret in a way that is hope to minimize political fall out rather than ease the suffering of as the Harper government likes to sy,”Real Canadians” .  The world and in particular the United States wants our pensions slashed and our employee benefits brought down to world standards and has wanted this for years, but has not been able to get a Canadian government to do it until Harper’s, majority Conservative Government.  If it is such a necessary thing to do, this gutting of Canadian jobs and salaries and benefits then it should be done out in the open, with transparency being the key and all government parties on-line.  To hear the Harper government telling these people that they empathise, but they can not get involved is just too much for me to listen to and not take pen to paper.  I hope the provinces and the people losing their jobs take Air Canada, Aveos and the Government of Canada to court and force them all to do the right thing.

How many companies taking Canadian taxpayer dollars in the form of bail outs, tax breaks and other government sponsored loans and then closing their doors and running back where they came from, will it take for the Canadian government under Prime Minister Harper to change the law to protect Canadian workers and tax payers from being ripped off.  They had no problem changing the law to protect us from imaginary terrorist threats, so why not against very real corporate threats looking to take advantage of Canadian business laws and practices?

About archemdis

I try to say what is on my mind and not hurt others, but some things need to be said whether they hurt or not and I do just that. I try to listen as well as talk, but my opinion is just that mine. You need not take it as your own, just respect the fact that I am entitled to it, as you are yours. I do read all comments, but will only answer, or allow to be displayed those which adress me by name, refer to the post by name in the comment, or that have been sent through the proper channels. In this manner I can tell whether the comment was meant for me and that it is not just spam.
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1 Response to Harper Government Says Not Our Problem / Aveos Closes Its Doors / 2600 workers Out Of Work

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