New employment prospects aren't great for the Metro Vancouver aircraft maintenance workers who lost their jobs when Aveos Fleet Performance Inc. closed its plants in three Canadian cities including Richmond Sunday, according to a union official.
"In B.C., there's very little aircraft maintenance work available," Fred Hospes, chairman of the International Association of Machinists and Aero-space Workers, District 140 Western Region, said Monday of the decision by Aveos, which provides aircraft maintenance for Air Canada, to close operations.
"Some may be able to get work, but there's not that many opportunities to absorb 400 highly skilled jobs."
Hospes and affected workers held a rally at Vancouver International Airport Monday protesting the decision by Aveos to lay off up to 400 employees in Vancouver and about 2,700 nationally. "These are highly skilled, high-paying jobs," added Hospes, who said Aveos gave workers no notice their jobs were ending.
The closure affects everyone from highly skilled, licensed aircraft technicians who make $35 per hour to data entry clerks.
A filing Monday for creditor protection by Aveos in Quebec Superior Court's commercial division details catastrophic corporate finances and abysmal relations with Air Canada.
The request for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act shows revenues for Aveos and its U.S. division, Aero Technical U.S. Inc., slumped by $16 million in "less than two calendar months" this year because Air Canada has "reduced, cancelled and deferred maintenance work with Aveos" since the start of 2012.
The company posted a fourth-quarter loss last year of $48.9 million.
In addition, the company's finances have been hit by "crushingly high labour costs, rising fuel prices and reduced airline traffic."
That has made it unable to compete with low-cost aircraft MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) service providers in Latin America, according to the company, which itself owns Aeroman, a fast-growing MRO facility in El Salvador.
Aveos is the private firm created in 2007 when Air Canada converted its technical services division, which did all of the maintenance and repair work on its planes, into a stand-alone operation.
Hospes said the federal government has an obligation to step in because Air Canada was allowed to sell off its maintenance division and had maintained Aveos was a viable company.
David Schellenberg, CEO of Conair Group Inc., the parent company of Abbotsford-based aircraft maintenance company Cascade Aerospace, said Cascade would be prepared to hire some of the Aveos workers when needed.
For the full story, visit: http: //www.vancouversun. com/business/Prospects+Av eos+workers+great+union+ official+says/6328627/story. html#ixzz1pmBB3EBH.