Strike averted as WestJet, pilots reach 11th-hour deal

Strike averted as WestJet, pilots reach 11th-hour deal

WestJet and its pilots’ union say they’ve reached a last-minute deal, averting a strike forward of the Could lengthy weekend.

The airline had already cancelled about one-third of its flight load Thursday as negotiations with its pilots’ union went right down to the wire.

Some 1,800 pilots on the service and its Swoop subsidiary have been poised to stroll off the job as of two a.m. PT Friday after the Air Line Pilots Affiliation issued a strike discover Monday.

A deal-in-principle was reached late Thursday evening after greater than 9 months of negotiations, the Air Line Pilots Affiliation mentioned in a information launch shortly after 10 p.m. PT.

Pilots have been bargaining for larger pay and higher job safety and scheduling, based on the union, which mentioned they at present make about half as some U.S. counterparts. WestJet pilots additionally wished higher scheduling.

Key points addressed

The tentative settlement offers “significant enhancements” to job safety, working situations and wages, WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech mentioned in an announcement.

As of early Thursday night, the service had cancelled 111 flights, or 31 per cent of these scheduled for the day, based on monitoring service FlightAware. The overwhelming majority have been out of Calgary or Toronto, with affected routes starting from London to Las Vegas, Barcelona and Saskatoon.

The corporate mentioned it’s now ramping up operations “as rapidly and effectively as attainable. Nevertheless, the complete resumption of operations will take time.”

Passengers are suggested to proceed to test the standing of their flights earlier than heading to the airport.

“Congratulations to each events and our federal mediators on a great deal made,” federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan tweeted shortly after the announcement of an settlement. O’Regan had been serving to within the negotiations, which have been held in Toronto.

The settlement “goes an extended technique to recognizing the worth and experience we carry to our airline each day,” mentioned Capt. Bernard Lewall, chair of the WestJet ALPA Grasp Government Council.

“This contract will even assist remedy lots of WestJet’s pilot attraction and retention points, benefiting everybody concerned from our firm to our passengers and fellow staff.”

Pilots will now vote to ratify the settlement within the coming days, Lewall mentioned.

With greater than 4,000 flights scheduled over the subsequent seven days, WestJet carries 28 per cent of Canada’s home market, whereas Air Canada runs 47 per cent, based on flight information agency Cirium.

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