* Bankruptcy protection granted to April 5
* Employees told not to return to work
* Aveos workers throw stones, eggs at Air Canada staff
* Air Canada must have service centers across Canada
By Leila Lemghalef
MONTREAL, March 20 (Reuters) - Workers at the private company that maintains some of Air Canada’s fleet are still shut out of work and waiting to hear from the company, their union said on Tuesday.
A brief letter posted on website of Aveos Fleet Performance Inc told employees not to return to work until further notice. Bill Trbovich, spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, confirmed that his members are not working.
Another letter said the company was laying off all workers in its airframe division, which carries out major work such as hull repairs, window replacements, and corrosion treatment as well as related inspections.
Aveos was granted bankruptcy protection by a Montreal court on Monday, according to a website put up by its court-appointed monitor (), prompting anger from the union and two days of protests outside the company’s Montreal headquarters.
Some 300 protesters demonstrated outside the Aveos office on Tuesday. Some threw stones at Air Canada workers driving into the airline’s nearby headquarters, while others tossed eggs.
The initial order, issued under Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, the equivalent of a U.S. Chapter 11 filing, wi ll expire on April 5.
Trbovich said more than 1,200 IAMAW members were losing their jobs, representing the majority of Aveos’s staff.
Formed from the in-house maintenance division at Canada’s No. 1 airline, Aveos became an independent company in 2007. It does maintenance for Air Canada, for Canadian government planes and for some other airlines. Air Canada said on Monday that a disruption at Aveos would not affect its day-to-day operations.
Late on Monday Air Canada said it had offered Aveos a debtor-in-possession financing package, which the airline said could help Aveos resume some operations. But the package was similar to one Aveos and its lenders rejected over the weekend.
Neither Aveos nor Air Canada could immediately be reached for comment.
The Canadian government noted on Monday night that Air Canada is obliged under the law governing the airline to keep overhaul stations at special Canadian locations.
“The Air Canada Public Participation Act requires Air Canada to maintain operational and overhaul centres in Montreal, Mississauga and Winnipeg,” Genevieve Sicard, press secretary to Transport Minister Denis Lebel, said in an email.