Air Canada to lay off more than half of their workforce

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Air Canada has announced that they will be laying off between 50 and 60% of their workforce, because of COVID-19.

A letter obtained by CTV, indicates the airline has been bleeding money, to the tune of $22 million a day.

Before the pandemic began, the company had 38,000 employees.

Meanwhile, the union representing Air Canada flight attendants says the airline is set to ask employees to work less, or not at all, as concerns over job security buffet the airline industry.

An internal bulletin to members from the Canadian Union of Public Employees says Air Canada will ask workers to slash their schedules, go on leave for up to two years or resign with travel privileges.

The bulletin, sent out Thursday night and obtained by The Canadian Press, says CUPE is in discussions with Air Canada over continuing the federal wage subsidy, which the airline has not committed to maintain past June 6.

Air Canada says it expects to be ``considerably smaller for some time,'' resulting in significant reductions to the workforce. The airline did not respond directly to questions about whether it would drop the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which Ottawa recently extended through August, or if layoffs were imminent.

Air Canada announced five weeks ago it would rehire 16,500 laid-off employees, including 6,800 flight attendants, via the subsidy program, which covers 75 per cent of a worker's normal hourly wages or up to $847 per week.

The vast majority of rehired Air Canada employees have stayed at home under the subsidy as more than 200 planes remain grounded amid the collapse of global travel triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Air Canada is not contributing to most worker wages, the airline has continued to put money toward pensions and benefits, a continuous cash drain at a company that lost more than $1 billion last quarter.