Yesterday a bulletin was issued from Jon Turner in regard to the recent work refusals titled: Transport Canada determines Direction is being complied with in regards to recent cabin crew ‘Right to Refuse Dangerous Work’.
As per the Canada Labour Code, danger means any hazard, condition or activity that could reasonably be expected to be an imminent or serious threat to the life or health of a person exposed to it before the hazard or condition can be corrected or the activity altered. If you feel this is the case, you have the right to refuse, this has not been removed, and you cannot be disciplined or lose pay for exercising this right. No one can prevent the exercising of this right except for a government safety investigator following an investigation, and no one should be encouraging you not to if you reasonably believe there is a danger.
There are currently 527 “unresolved” health and safety complaints logged by Cabin Crew, primarily dealing with COVID-19, ranging from concerns regarding mask compliance, to onboard service, to missing clean care kits. This is a concern.
There were 5 work refusals at Air Canada Mainline and 3 work refusals at Air Canada Rouge, primarily related to onboard service, but also in regard to no potable water on board, mask compliance concerns and no safe places to eat on board.
This is all due to the fact we are seeing service return close to pre-pandemic levels. The employer left off saying that they listen to our feedback, but what we have seen is that our voices have fallen on deaf ears with the Employer, Transport Canada and the Federal Government itself. If everything we do is to be safety first, why is the employer not mitigating the risk, the risk that is there and has affected many crew to date. In a system where the employees are told safety reporting is of the utmost importance, how can the Company reasonably ignore hundreds of complaints from the people who know the workplace best?
We have seen countless Canadian, American and foreign carriers reduce services onboard. This was done to “ensure the safety of both passengers and flight attendants”, as noted most recently by American Airlines. We need the same strong position here as well, we need to see we are heard, and see that we are moving towards safer practices because we are valued and respected as employees.
Enough of you have reached out and followed the process outlined to ensure your safety concerns are logged, unfortunately they are not being actioned.
You did your part and got vaccinated, you used all your sick time to stay home and stay safe, you went through countless quarantine periods, countless calls with contact tracing, handed out card after card to ensure mask compliance, contacted your managers with issues of fatigue, stress, loneliness and isolation, and now, all we are asking for is to be regarded like everyone else in Canada, and reduce our contact in the workplace by reducing onboard service.
Your Union will be reaching out to lobby this further; we will ensure the message is delivered. At this time appeals are in the process of being filed related to the work refusals identified by the Company.