With the expected return of Delhi as a destination, and as many of you continue to report struggling with increased onboard service, mask problems, we wanted to provide an overview of the kinds of work and things the union is actively advocating for on your behalf.
Our membership has been clear: the increased service does not work given the pandemic realities we continue to face onboard. Thank you to all our members who heeded our requests to not just inform the Union, but also file the correct and appropriate reports with the company.
Remember that if the company is unable to resolve your health and safety complaint, you have the right to refer it to your joint workplace health and safety committee for investigation (see reporting section below). Some of you may have complaints that are at this stage now, and your representatives are working hard to review your concerns at the committee level.
As a Union we continue to hold calls and meetings with management as appropriate to communicate your concerns and comments. While these may not always yield results, it is nonetheless part of our role in representing you and we take care to ensure it is diligently carried out.
We also engage Transport Canada Civil Aviation in bi-weekly calls. These are an opportunity for your union to seek clarity on regulatory issues as well as to voice the concerns of the membership. Perhaps most importantly, they form part of the public consultation into new government initiatives. These meetings rarely result in swift change, but they do yield results over time. A good example would be greater clarity ,both in the interim ministerial orders as well as TC guidance material, as to masking requirements, reasonable use of exemptions and the powers of cabin crew to enforce rules onboard.
Lastly, your representatives on the IFS Policy health and safety committee continue to present and advocate the employee perspective in corporate risk assessments. Recently, the five union policy committee members filed a health and safety complaint into the methodology and use of risk assessments at the company.
One of the biggest challenges of health and safety these days is constant return of workers from long-term leaves and layoffs. It’s hard to ensure that everyone has all the information they need or that they know where to find it. A bulletin sent one week may never be seen by 500 cabin crew who start work the next.
To address this, your Union health and safety team has been working on a COVID-19 info reference sheet to guide members towards the various documents, processes and resources. It will be available shortly under the “resources” tab on www.accomponent.ca and will be included in all recall bulletins.
Government route suspensions and returns due to COVID-19:
Currently both Delhi and Casablanca routes are suspended because of a Transport Canada NOTAM. However, it is expected that the NOTAM for Delhi will be lifted on the 21st of September.
The Union and company have met multiple times since service was suspended to DEL to discuss challenges that crews experienced and plan for a successful relaunch. The policy health and safety committee has also engaged in two risk assessments for DEL specifically as well as a review of risk for focus destinations in general.
The Union and company do NOT agree on the following:
- The need to reduce service in general, but especially on our Delhi routes which have been a challenge for crews.
- The need, at least at time of re-launch, for a designated washroom on this route pending evaluation and feedback from crews. This is extremely important to the membership, and we have heard you loud and clear, we advised this was a must for our crews on this route, the Company is not in agreement.
The Union continues to press the company to ensure that previously raised concerns are addressed, crews are well supported at the DEL station once service resumes, and that layover accommodations are in line with local and company safety protocols. The company will be issuing a bulletin with information specific to Delhi prior to launch and management will have support at the aircraft for departures and arrivals during the first two weeks of operation.
We have also discussed with the Public Health Agency of Canada how destinations are flagged for suspension as well as how they determine it is safe to resume service. Some details that were clarified include:
- Multiple data points are considered by the PHAC when advising of route suspension., as well as to compare with data from other destinations/routes, and for variants of concern and interest.
- local epidemiological data at destination (case averages) is monitored for disproportional increases.
- rate of importation of cases to Canada is monitored through
- pre-departure molecular testing
- arrival molecular testing.
- Affected (notified) flights
- Provincial contact tracing data.
- Data are cross referenced for inconsistencies (red flag). Ex. No passengers testing positive prior to departure, but many testing positive on arrival could indicate fraudulent test certificates at destination.
- compare with data from other destinations/routes
- monitor for variants of concern and interest.
- Different data points are used by the PHAC to advise of route resumption since there is no active flight data. These include:
- Data from passengers on multi-leg journeys from the destination.
- Local epidemiological data at destination has to have significantly decreased.
- Computer modeling is used based on existing data to predict case counts.
- Possible additional measures yet to be announced by the government and/or company
Finally, our members have raised many concerns about the veracity of testing and vaccination certificates from some destinations. PHAC and TC advise that the ArriveCan app has been updated multiple times and that artificial intelligence scans all uploaded documents and catches a significant number of documents ahead of travel. This is in addition to verifications by airlines and cross-referencing of general data as mentioned above. The Union has strongly advocated for rapid testing prior to departure in order to narrow the margin of error for testing.
If you have concerns about operating to DEL during the first two weeks of operation, it is important to reach out to crew scheduling and ask to speak to a safety manager. During the first two weeks of operation, those who did not bid the route will be provided a 519 unavailable no fault with the option of doing makeup or reverting back to their regular reserve status or block (in the case of draft).
A kind reminder that reporting is important. Remember that the employer is tasked by law to attempt to resolve your health and safety complaint with you as soon as possible. If you do not feel that your complaint is resolved, or if you haven’t had a response from the employer in over 30 days, you can refer your complaint to the joint health and safety committee for investigation. Remember that all responses will be sent to your company email. You can refer to your committee either by clicking the link directly under the text box with the manager’s response, or simply by emailing any one of the committee members.
Reaching the Union:
The Union endeavours to answer all non-urgent emails within 1-2 business days.
Urgent issues that cannot wait until the next business day:
Emergencies that require immediate response (arrest, work refusal, health):
firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-758-3037
The emergency line is staffed 24/7 by operators at answer plus who will process calls and forward them to the appropriate party within the Union. Note: NON-Emergency issues will NOT be responded to immediately. Please ensure to provide the following to the operator:
– Employee number
– Full name
– Rouge or Mainline
– Brief description