The WestJet Group and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have reached a tentative agreement today which has averted the threat of potential strike action.
ALPA is the certified union representing WestJet and Swoop pilots. WestJet Group has today announced that it has reached a tentative agreement with ALPA on the second collective bargaining agreement between the organizations.
Both parties now await the ratification vote to be put forward to membership.
Previous 72-hour strike notice
On Monday May 15, WestJet pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued a 72-hour strike notice to WestJet management and the government.
This started the clock on a 72-hour countdown to negotiate a fair and equitable contract, before the pilots can legally utilize all the options available to them under the Canada Labour Code.
The union could have filed the notice over the weekend, but in a bid to keep the airline operating, agreed to extend negotiations. This sign of good faith was to allow enough time to review additional proposals put forth by both parties.
While progress was made on most non-cost items, both sides had been previously unable to reach an agreement that will serve the best interests of all parties involved.
The 72-hour strike notice potentially meant the commencement of action from 3:00 a.m. MT today, Friday May 19, which may have involved grounding all aircraft and effectively shutting down operations. A lockout notice had been issued by the airline Group in response.
issuing an update statement following the tentative agreement between the two parties, Alexis von Hoensbroech, WestJet Group Chief Executive Officer, said:
“The WestJet Group is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement that is industry-leading within Canada and recognizes the important contributions of our valued pilots by providing meaningful improvements to job security and scope, working conditions and wages.”
“We appreciate we were able to arrive at a deal, however, recognize the impact on our guests and we sincerely appreciate their patience during this time.”
“We are pleased to now return our focus to providing friendly, reliable and affordable air service to Canadians for years to come.”
The WestJet Group is ramping up its operations as quickly and efficiently as possible, however the full resumption of operations will take time.
The airline group advised its customers to remain encouraged and continue to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport.