The ALPA union, which represents pilots of Canada’s low-cost airline WestJet, submitted a strike notice 72 hours before the measure’s expected start. According to a report by Reuters agency, the protests may begin on Friday, May 19.
WestJet pilots may start strike from next Friday
If carried through, the strike would have a major impact on the airline’s schedule, as it would cause disruption during the weekend before the Victory Day celebrations, which would take place on Monday, 22 May.
The WestJet pilots’ union leadership assured that, in the event of no progress in negotiations with the company, they may withdraw their services at 03:00 MT (UTC -7) on Friday. “Our negotiating committee is still available to reach an agreement,” he assured. For its part, the airline has already issued a notice regarding the possible impact on its operations.
Today the WestJet Pilots MEC issued a 72 hours strike notice. If no progress is made, we could withdraw our services at 0300 MT May 19th, 2023. Our negotiating committee remains available 24/7 to reach a deal.#showusafuture #weareready #willstrikeifprovoked #countdown pic.twitter.com/usKJVss491
— WestJet ALPA Pilots (@WestJetALPA) May 16, 2023
High salary race
The move comes at a time when various pilots’ unions in North America are pushing for wage increases and improvements in their working conditions. The current situation and forecast growth in demand for technical crew members in the coming years create an ideal situation for this type of claim.
In recent months, airlines large and small in the United States have been embroiled in increasing competition to hire new pilots, while each union seeks an industry-leading contract in terms of both pay and benefits. The situation led to a veritable race to improve wages and working conditions.
In this context, the agreements that have been finalized set new benchmarks for future negotiations. In Canada, pilots in particular are demanding better schedules, as well as narrowing the pay gap with their American colleagues.
In this regard, WestJet assured that it intends to achieve a “competitive settlement within the Canadian airspace”.