(Montreal, July 5, 2021) – IAMAW reached an exceptional agreement with Airbus and Bombardier to increase protection for workers laid off during the pandemic. At the initiative of the union, this agreement will increase the coverage of the recall list from two to three years for workers with less than three years of service.
“As the pandemic stretched over time, we needed to find a way to better protect workers in layoff situations,” said Éric Rancourt, Business Representative responsible for Airbus and Bombardier units. “Without negotiating this agreement, many of our members would have seen their seniority benefits disappear. By providing coverage until 2023, this exceptional agreement strengthens the protection of laid-off workers.”
Since March 25, 2020, the global pandemic health situation has greatly affected aircraft operations. As a result, Airbus and Bombardier chose to lay off a number of employees. Placed on a recall list, laid-off workers have so far been able to retain certain benefits for a fixed period of time. However, those who had been employed by Airbus or Bombardier for less than three years would have been vulnerable as early as 2022.
“This agreement is in the best interests of workers,” says Yvon Paiement, President of Local Lodge 712. “We are adapting the protection of the employment relationship and the benefits that come with it to the context of the crisis. This is to secure our members who have less than three years of seniority and who have been laid off since the first months of the pandemic.”
Normally, the Airbus and Bombardier collective agreements provide that an employee with less than three years of seniority is removed from the recall list and loses any employment relationship with their employer 2 years after being laid off. For workers with more than 3 years of seniority, the collective agreement provides for protection of a period of 5 years. However, as Airbus and Bombardier are preparing for the restart of their activities they have received the request from the Machinists’ Union in a positive way.
A way to slow the exodus of workers to other sectors
Before COVID-19 paralyzed Quebec’s aerospace sector, the industry was experiencing a serious shortage of skilled labour. The recovery in the industry will inevitably lead to a resurgence of the problem. This problem may even get worse, as many aerospace workers have made the choice to reorient their careers or retire during the pandemic.
“Strengthening the employment relationship can have a positive impact on workforce retention, which is not insignificant to ensure a company’s operations in a shortage environment,” says Éric Rancourt. It is another proof that by giving workers good working conditions, everyone benefits.”
Yvon Paiement, President, Local Lodge 712 IAMAW
Éric Rancourt, Business Representative, IAMAW District 11