TORONTO — Sunwing Travel Group is bringing 1,800 employees back on payroll through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, providing Sunwing’s Canada-based employees with additional financial support for the duration of the wage subsidy’s term.
Making the announcement today, Stephen Hunter, CEO of Sunwing Travel Group, said: “Sunwing was formed on a vision of not only being a high-quality vacation company, but also providing high-quality jobs for Canadians. Unfortunately, during these unprecedented times we had been forced to reduce our workforce. Throughout this pandemic we have continued to explore all options to support our employees and keep as many employed as possible. This generous program from the Government of Canada is critical and will enable us to do just that. Once these travel restrictions are lifted, we have every intention of resuming operations and recalling our employees as soon as it is feasible.”
This decision has received unanimous support from Sunwing’s Canadian-based unions including Canadian Airline Dispatchers Association (Dispatchers), Canadian Union of Public Employees (Cabin Crew Members), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (Maintenance Mechanics) and Unifor (Pilots).
Similar moves have been made in recent weeks by Air Canada, WestJet and Transat.
Sunwing says that by participating in the wage subsidy program, it is expected that, depending on wages, many Sunwing employees will receive higher levels of compensation than they would ordinarily receive through the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance. These steps are being taken alongside ongoing cost containment measures, including a 50% reduction in pay for Sunwing’s executive team.
After suspending all flights in response to the spread of COVID-19, and the government-imposed travel restrictions, Sunwing has focused its efforts on helping support Canada’s collective pandemic response.
The company’s airline employees and destination representatives worked tirelessly, sending over 400 repatriation flights to 45 destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Florida and bringing home over 60,000 Canadians, including 3,300 non-Sunwing customers, free of charge.
Sunwing says it thanks the Government of Canada for its commitment to supporting workers through this difficult time and continues to advocate with all levels of government for dedicated support for the air transportation industry.