WestJet pilots have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike, but say there will be no flight disruptions over the Victoria Day long weekend.
According to the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA) who represent the pilots, 91% voted “yes” in favour of a strike to resolve for a fair contract that addresses the large gaps in proposals on total compensation, working conditions, and job security.
“The goal is—and always has been—to secure a fair collective agreement that brings stability to the airline, and not to strike,” said Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of WestJet’s ALPA Master Executive Council, in a statement.
“The strong results of our strike vote and the excellent turnout at our informational picketing event earlier this week should provide management the added incentive it needs to bring serious proposals to the bargaining table that address our concerns.”
The pilots will be in a legal position to commence job action on May 19.
ALPA said that negotiators will head to Halifax to continue negotiations starting next week, and they are committed to staying there for as long as it takes to get a deal done.
“Our pilots have built this airline, and now it is time for our efforts to be properly recognized in terms of industry-standard compensation and working conditions, and real job security that prevents management from outsourcing our jobs,” said McFadyen.
Meanwhile, worried passengers have been tweeting at the Alberta-based airline about possible cancellations due to the strike.
In response, WestJet assured its customers that in an event of a strike, they will provide refunds.
We understand your concern around being affected with a work stoppage. In the event your flight is cancelled due to a labour dispute, we will provide a refund. We remain confident that we will come to an agreement. In the meantime, it is business as usual.
— WestJet (@WestJet) May 11, 2018
Rival airline Air Canada has also taken the time to address the possible upcoming strike.
Air Canada announced it has added capacity on key transcontinental routes by up-gauging aircraft on certain flights from its primary global hub in Toronto to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, from Vancouver to Calgary, Edmonton, and from Calgary to Montreal.
“Travellers who may be concerned about the uncertainty resulting from WestJet’s strike vote mandate can book Air Canada with confidence,” the airline said in a release. “With our flexible and diverse fleet, we will continue adjusting capacity where possible to limit disruptions for people travelling.”