WestJet points lockout discover to mechanics’ union

WestJet has issued a 72-hour lockout discover to the union representing the Calgary-based airline’s mechanics. The discover paves the way in which for a piece stoppage to start on Tuesday.

Final week, the Plane Mechanics Fraternal Affiliation (AMFA), which represents the service’s plane upkeep engineers, introduced that members would start taking a strike vote on Might 2. Voting will proceed till Might 9.

WestJet and the AMFA have been negotiating a brand new contract since September 2023.

In a Saturday morning e-mail to workers, Diederik Pen, WestJet’s president and chief working officer, mentioned work stoppages may start as early as Tuesday at midday MT.

“We didn’t take this motion with out cautious consideration. AMFA publicly issued a strike vote alert final week and actively inspired visitors to fly different carriers a number of occasions,” the e-mail mentioned.

Pen mentioned if the work stoppage cannot be prevented, WestJet is ready to take the next steps:

  • Working below a lowered schedule.

  • Proactively managing adjustments and cancellations and guaranteeing communications with passengers prematurely of their flights.

  • Implementing versatile change and cancel choices for passengers who want to make alternate preparations.

Pen additionally suggested WestJet employees to chorus from reserving worker journey.

“Relaxation assured our focus stays on the bargaining desk and we consider, with a dedication from each events, an settlement is achievable,” Pen wrote to workers.

AMFA regional director Will Abbott, who chairs the union’s WestJet-AMFA negotiating committee, instructed CBC Information that the lockout discover was “not surprising.”

“We really feel that it is unlucky that it involves this, however we stay to barter in good religion. Nothing goes to be resolved till we get to the end line. What must be achieved is a collective bargaining settlement that either side can reside with,” he mentioned.

Points stay advantages and pay

Abbott says the most important excellent points are what he calls “quality-of-life points,” together with advantages and pay.

“We additionally need to guarantee that we’ve language that protects the roles that you simply do. You possibly can have all the cash on this planet, but when you do not have the language to guard your job, you are not going to earn,” he mentioned.

In a press release posted Saturday to the airline’s web site, Pen defended the airline’s newest supply to the union. 

“The WestJet Group has introduced a proposal to AMFA that might make WestJet plane upkeep engineers the best paid in Canada, with a cumulative wage improve of over 20 per cent throughout the span of the collective settlement. The supply would additionally ship trade main work-life stability requirements and robust commitments to job safety,” the assertion mentioned.

“We sincerely worth the work and contributions of our plane upkeep engineers, and our proposed settlement displays this. We’re unwaveringly dedicated to reaching an settlement to stop journey disruption, nevertheless, we’re equally ready to guard the journey plans of our visitors and to offer long-term stability and safety for all workers on the WestJet Group.”

Abbott says AMFA plans to maintain negotiating, regardless of the lockout discover. When requested to charge the possibilities of Tuesday’s work stoppage being prevented, he mentioned he was the incorrect particular person to ask.

“I did not serve the lockout, so I can say that query could be in WestJet’s court docket.”

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