Flight Chaos: WestJet Faces Turbulence as Mechanics Strike Threat Looms

Flight disruptions and thousands of passengers’ flights were canceled after a strike notice by a Canadian Airline’s tech and mechanical teams. Things have looked up since then, and perhaps things will go smoothly now—or will they? 

Plans To Fly WestJet Disrupted 

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Passengers who wanted to fly WestJet were abruptly forced to cancel their plans because the aircraft were not taking off.  

Binding Arbitration 

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WestJet’s mechanics are represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA). The workers are calling for a strike because they are seeking binding arbitration.

72-Hour Strike Notice

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It wasn’t long ago that a notice about mechanics gearing up to strike affected the WestJet Canadian airline. The strike notice was issued after months of negotiations, and no agreement was reached. 

Strike Urged Because WestJet Left Bargaining Table 

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The mechanics, represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, would strike if the negotiations were not met. Still, the opposing party was already leaving the negotiations. 

Hundreds of Mechanics Involved

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If a strike were to commence, it would involve 670 mechanics responsible for maintaining the WestJet aircraft fleet. 

Why Strike? 

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The flight mechanics of WestJet want the airline to address issues of benefits and salaries. If no agreement is reached, it could give way to the strike they warned of.  

What the Aircraft Engineers and Mechanics Say

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“We feel that it is unfortunate that it has come to this, but we remain to negotiate in good faith. Nothing is going to be resolved until we get to the finish line…” The regional director for AFMA, Will Abbott said. 

Something Has To Change 

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Abbott also noted that an agreement that makes both parties happy should be reached. 

Offer on Hand

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 “The WestJet Group has predsented an offer to the AMFA that would make WestJet aircraft maintenance engineers the highest paid in Canada…” the president of WestJet, Diederik Pen said. 

A 20% Increase 

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WestJet president also said there would be a 20% increase and work-life balance for engineers and mechanics.

Job Security 

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The agreement presented by the WestJet Group to the AMFA also promised work security. 

Agreement Rejected 

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Hundreds of mechanics voted against the agreement in a cast of votes. The votes topped nearly 90% of ballots when counted. 

The Rejection is Worrying 

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Pen voiced his concern and noted that the rejection was a worry. Despite the offer to pay the engineers as the highest paid in Canada for an airline and benefits, the deal was still rejected.

Why the Agreement Was Rejected 

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The airline mechanics rejected the deal because it was still low. The union’s president Bret Oestreich, stated that the airline offered 30% lower than the rate of North American airlines.

The Union Fighting for More 

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The union also wants the airline to address issues like layoff protection, scheduling, and outsourcing.  

Not Completely Honest 

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The union’s president also commented that workers felt the airline was conducting the negotiations in ”bad faith.” 

Flights Cancelled 

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The airline canceled over 25 flights after the strike notice was out on Monday with the intention of the strike taking place that same week.

Thousands of Passengers Affected 

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The airline’s move to cancel flights has affected thousands of passengers booked for those flight schedules.  

A Word From The Airline 

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“We recognize the impact the initial cancellations had on our guests and our people and we sincerely appreciate the patience and understanding during this time,” Pen said in a statement. 

The Negotiations Continues

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The president of WestJet also told CBC that they would return to the negotiations to avoid further disruptions. He also mentioned that the airline is determined to find a resolution that works for both sides. 

Only Time Will Tell

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While flights seem to be continuing as normal, passengers can’t be 100% certain that something like this will not happen again. Only time will tell for the passengers and the airline.

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