03/23/2012 01:20 EDT | Updated 05/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Mayors ask PM to intervene in Aveos shutdown

The Mayors of Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga, Ont., have asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene in the dispute between Air Canada and maintenance company Aveos by calling for an emergency meeting between the two parties to save jobs.

"We have spoken to the president of Air Canada and he has expressed a desire to collaborate and to participate in discussions," says a letter to Harper, signed by Mayors Gérald Tremblay of Montreal, Hazel McCallion of Mississauga, and Sam Katz of Winnipeg.

The mayors argue that Aveos ceasing its operations had led not only to the termination of 3,300 jobs but also to the shutting down of all maintenance and repair centres that Air Canada has an obligation to maintain under Article 6 of the Air Canada Public Participation Act.

"We deem this situation unacceptable. In the current, fragile economic situation we are experiencing, it is our duty to safeguard the leading edge technology infrastructures and jobs that make Canada one of the worldwide leaders in the field of aeronautics. Even more fundamental is the necessity to respect rule of law as well as the laws upon which this country built both its prosperity and its trust in itself."

The letter also highlights the fact that Air Canada is Canada's national air carrier which has allowed the government to intervene in the carrier's labour relations.

About 100 employees of the Winnipeg operation of Aveo held a rally at the provincial legislature on Friday, calling on the government to take action to re-open the plant.