WestJet pilots ask for federal assistance after months of failed contract talks

The union that represents pilots at WestJet says it is asking for federal assistance after months of failing to reach a contract agreement with the airline.

The WestJet Master Executive Council, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), says it has filed a request for conciliation assistance with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

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The federal Minister of Labour now has 15 days to appoint a conciliation officer. Once appointed, the officer would work with the parties for 60 days to reach an agreement.

If both parties remain at an impasse following this period, a 21-day cooling-off period begins before the parties can consider other alternatives, including a strike or lockout.

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ALPA, which represents approximately 1,800 pilots at WestJet and its low-cost subsidiary Swoop, says it has been negotiating unsuccessfully with Calgary-based WestJet since September.

The pilots’ first union contract, which expired at the end of 2022, was the result of an arbitrated settlement reached in 2018. That settlement averted a threatened pilots’ strike, as WestJet pilots had voted in favour of job action after contract talks fell apart.

&© 2023 The Canadian Press

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