Las Vegas, Nevada – Delegates to the IAM Transportation Conference were told that airline profits will grow for the 8th consecutive year, passenger levels reached 3.8 billion in 2016 and worker insecurity is growing right along with them. “Airport Authorities such as the Greater Toronto Airport Authority – GTAA and airlines like WestJet and Air Transat are racing to subcontract their terminal and aircraft handling services in a bid to cut costs while creating instability for our members,” explained IAM Canadian Airline Coordinator Carlos DaCosta.
“Many members working these jobs are finding they have new employers, lower wages, fewer benefits and new seniority every few years. “If rehired, they have to work harder under lower safety standards and with increased injuries.” DaCosta added, “Large global companies, like Swissport and Menzies, dominate the ground services sector. They save money by buying equipment centrally, reducing duplication of info and technology and support systems while getting our members to do more work with less manpower to increase their profits.”
DaCosta told the six hundred delegates we can fight this trend by working together through union networks and workgroups within the IAM and outside North America through the ITF.
Another avenue available to us is through the political arena and the IAM in Canada is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with on parliament hill. “Contract Flipping is an outrage, and airport workers have had enough,” declared IAM Canadian GVP Stan Pickthall. “Last month the IAM met with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour – MP Rodger Cuzner. This meeting was with myself, Political Action GLR Lou Pagrach, and Research Director Aurelie Sarrabezolles. We presented our case to eliminate the profits made by contract flipping, and to protect jobs of these most vulnerable workers.”
Pickthall told delegates, “We told the Minister that they have the power to do so now! Article 47.3 of the Canada Labour Code has the provisions giving the Minister of Labour power to make this change by regulation. This was regulated for workers in Security Screening; when the contract is put out for RFP screeners know that they will receive “remuneration not less than that of the previous employer”.
“This means contractors bidding on the work will have to pay the same rates or better, and that workers do not continually get pushed back in this race to the bottom.” The solution is quite simple said Pickthall, ” “The IAM recommends that we must not succumb to the lowest standards anywhere in the world, but must instead ensure that the highest standards are always adopted and supported to ensure a healthy, safe and viable air transport sector. We must not degrade or lower our standards regardless of what we are trying to achieve.”
The four-day conference wraps up on Wednesday.