Laid-off Aveos workers clash with riot police

Montreal riot police used chemical irritants while unblocking a street occupied Tuesday by a few hundred angry, laid-off aircraft maintenance workers.

The loud and boisterous group yelled, chanted slogans and blew whistles for a second day, blocking the main street that leads to Aveos’ Montreal facility.

Some also tossed rocks at police. The officers responded with chemicals.

Maintenance company Aveos Fleet Performance shut down three main plants in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal, as well as other facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Trenton and Mississauga.

Since then, Aveos employees have taken to the street in front of their former workplace.

That same west-end road near Montreal’s Trudeau airport leads to Air Canada’s offices.

Police moved in briefly Tuesday to open a lane to allow Air Canada employees to get through, just before 11 a.m.

The company announced it will liquidate its aircraft maintenance business, terminating the employment of all the company’s 2,600 employees across the country.

The Montreal-based private company said Tuesday that it would immediately cease all operations after getting permission for the move in Quebec Superior Court.

The decision terminates the company’s remaining 1,300 employees after 1,175 workers were let go Sunday when Aveos decided to close its airframe repair business.

About 160 employees will remain to oversee the liquidation process.

“The company had no viable option but to cease operations,” said chairman Eugene Davis.

Earlier Tuesday, Const. Daniel Lacoursiere said a police tactical unit moved in to clear a path.

Some laid-off employees sat down on the road.

There was shoving, rocks were fired at police and snowballs and projectiles were hurled at the vehicles of passing Air Canada workers. Police fired back with a blast of chemicals.

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