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WestJet issues lockout notice to mechanics’ union

WestJet has issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the union representing the Calgary-based airline’s mechanics. The notice paves the way for a work stoppage to begin on Tuesday.

Last week, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), which represents the carrier’s aircraft maintenance engineers, announced that members would begin taking a strike vote on May 2. Voting will continue until May 9.

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

In a Saturday morning email to employees, Diederik Pen, WestJet’s president and chief operating officer, said work stoppages could begin as early as Tuesday at noon MT.

“We did not take this action without careful consideration. AMFA publicly issued a strike vote alert last week and actively encouraged guests to fly other carriers several times,” the email said.

Pen said if the work stoppage can’t be avoided, WestJet is prepared to take the following steps:

  • Operating under a reduced schedule.

  • Proactively managing changes and cancellations and ensuring communications with passengers in advance of their flights.

  • Implementing flexible change and cancel options for passengers who wish to make alternate arrangements.

Pen also advised WestJet workers to refrain from booking employee travel.

“Rest assured our focus remains at the bargaining table and we believe, with a commitment from both parties, an agreement is achievable,” Pen wrote to employees.

More to come…

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