WestJet and the union representing its pilots reached a last-minute deal, avoiding strike action, Courtesy: Flickr/ Tomás Del Coro
Many vacation goers breathed a sigh of relief Friday morning when it was announced that Canadian airline WestJet and the union representing its pilots had reached a last-minute agreement in principle, narrowly avoiding a strike that was set to begin this morning.
The ALPA, the union representing WestJet and Swoop pilots, issued a 72-hour strike notice at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15. It was announced in the early hours of Friday morning that a tentative agreement had been reached between the two parties.
“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,” Alexis von Hoensbroech, WestJet Group Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement.
According to the statement, the Canadian airline is ramping up its operations as quickly as possible, but the full resumption of operations will take time. WestJet officials are reminding those with flights booked with the airline to continue to go online to check the status of their flights before going to the airport.
WestJet Strike Averted: Canadians React
Following news that a tentative agreement had been reached, therefore avoiding a strike, many people were pleased with the news.
“Without solidarity, this would have not been possible. Air Canada pilots will be next, and we look forward to your support. ALPA STRONG!” one person posted to Twitter.
“Congratulations! Collective bargaining works. Way to call the corp on their bluff. What is an airline without pilots? A parking lot of planes. WJ demonstrated that lol. All this will cause massive chaos for upcoming flight this weekend but I’m happy for a resolution!” another wrote.
However, the airline had preemptively cancelled some flights in case the strike did go ahead. This has left some travellers frustrated, complaining that their flights had already been cancelled due to the tentative job action, and they found the communication from the airline was less than satisfactory.
“Cool. My flight was cancelled this morning at 2am and I still haven’t heard anything about the next steps. Communication is non-existent apparently as I’ve tried all the methods suggested by WestJet on their app and website ,” one Twitter user wrote.
“No room in your tweet to mention your customers, given the thousands who have had flights cancelled, as I did, with little meaningful help from WestJet (my experience; Gold member, BTW). Classic example of what happens when a company’s customer focus is lost,” another wrote.
“Exactly what happened to my friends who had planned a weekend visit from Halifax. Flight cancelled with no options offered. They spent 8 HOURS on hold only to be rebooked in June.”