Home Workplace Legislation/Press Releases Unifor criticizes FTG Aerospace for using replacement workers amid labour dispute

Unifor criticizes FTG Aerospace for using replacement workers amid labour dispute

by HR Law Canada

Unifor has criticized FTG Aerospace for its decision to employ replacement workers, commonly known as ‘scabs,’ at its Toronto facility, amid an ongoing labor dispute. This move has sparked concerns over safety and respect for the striking workers.

Approximately 70 members of Unifor Local 303 have been on strike since December 11, 2023, seeking a fair contract. The facility’s workforce, predominantly female, is engaged in manufacturing components for aircraft cockpit assemblies for both commercial and defense aerospace industries. Notably, the current wage for an assembler at the facility is $17.95.

Lana Payne, Unifor National President, condemned FTG’s use of replacement workers. “FTG’s decision to use scab labour is completely unacceptable. The company is demonstrating its complete lack of respect for its own employees while attempting to draw out this dispute at the same time,” Payne stated. She raised concerns about the qualifications and certifications of these replacement workers, emphasizing the potential safety risks involved.

Brian Vance, President of Unifor Local 303, echoed Payne’s sentiments. “Seeing scabs at our facility is unthinkable. It’s not only a slap in the face to our FTG members, it’s downright dangerous,” he remarked. Vance called for the company to return to the bargaining table to resolve the dispute.

Unifor is urging FTG Aerospace management to resume negotiations and immediately halt the use of replacement workers at the facility. The union highlighted that FTG Aerospace had received significant government funding, including over $15 million from various programs aimed at job creation and maintenance in Ontario. This includes $6.3 million from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, a $7 million investment from the federal government’s Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative in 2022, and $2.6 million from the Ontario government for advanced manufacturing and innovation competitiveness.

“This is another example why every single jurisdiction in the country must implement anti-scab legislation,” Payne added, highlighting the broader implications of the dispute.

As of now, FTG Aerospace has not responded to the union’s request to set a date for further negotiations. Unifor, representing over 315,000 members across various sectors, including 11,000 in aerospace, continues to advocate for worker rights and social justice both in Canada and internationally.

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