WestJet reaches deal for pilots and avoids strike
WestJet pilots called off a major strike late Thursday night as they reached a tentative agreement with WestJet.
The pilots had issued a strike notice on Monday, starting the clock on a three-day countdown for contract negotiations. The strike would have begun in the early hours of Friday across three major Canadian airports.
In a statement released Thursday morning, Canada’s second-largest airline said it’s preparing for labour action by WestJet and Swoop pilots by starting to “take down its network.” This strike aimed to reach a deal for better pay, work hours, and more.
Luckily, a deal was made before the picketing began.
At 2:17 am ET, WestJet tweeted that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) on the second collective bargaining agreement between the organizations.
“Both parties now await the ratification vote to be put forward to membership,” it wrote.
The @WestJet Group and ALPA have reached a tentative agreement on the second collective bargaining agreement between the organizations. Both parties now await the ratification vote to be put forward to membership. https://t.co/kqJVlo6zxb
— WestJet News (@WestJetNews) May 19, 2023
WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech also posted a video message.
“Our valued pilots are critical to our business, and we look forward to ensuring that our guests can safely get where they need to go with the service that they deserve,” he said. “This agreement is just one of many steps we are taking to reestablish WestJet as the friendly, reliable and affordable airline that you know and love.”
Hoensbroech also had a message for WestJet employees: “Thank you for your resilience and dedication to get you through this together. I believe we are stronger than ever as we move forward united in our commitment to connecting more people to what matters most for friendly and affordable air service.”
“Following eight months of negotiations, we are pleased to announce that the pilots have reached an Agreement in Principle (AIP) with @WestJet on our second agreement,” Westjet ALPA announced at 2:28 am on May 18. “There will be NO labour action. We sincerely thank you for your support.”
Following 8 months of negotiations, we are pleased to announce that the pilots have reached an Agreement in Principle (AIP) with @WestJet on our second agreement.
There will be NO labour action.
We sincerely thank you for your support.#WestJetPilots #ALPAPilots #Contract2023 pic.twitter.com/2K9mf0RYWT
— WestJet ALPA Pilots (@WestJetALPA) May 19, 2023