WestJet issues lockout notice as negotiations stall with mechanics union

WestJet and ALPA's tentative agreement will allow the airline to reduce disruption on its network
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Canadian airline WestJet issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the union representing WestJet aircraft maintenance engineers, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA).

WestJet Airline President and Group Chief Operating Officer Diederik Pen said that the decision to issue a lockout notice was prompted by the “unreasonable demands and expectations” set by AMFA. According to a statement released by WestJet on May 4, 2024, if a deal is not reached with the union, a work stoppage could potentially occur as early as May 7.

“The decision to issue a lockout notice was not made lightly, and we sincerely regret and apologize for the uncertainty this causes for our guests and the communities and regions that rely on us,” Pen said. “Despite our unwavering commitment to reaching a collective agreement, AMFA continues to present unreasonable demands and expectations at the bargaining table.”

The airline’s President added that due to the aircraft maintenance engineers’ union publicly issuing a strike vote alert and directing guests to fly with other carriers, the carrier “cannot allow the unpredictable nature and lack of progress to continue”.

Consequently, the airline is left with “no alternative” but to issue a lockout notice to bring the situation to a final resolution.

The WestJet President assured that the lockout would not cause any flight disruptions.

“We sincerely value the work and contributions of our Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, and our proposed agreement reflects this. We are unwaveringly committed to reaching an agreement to prevent travel disruption; however, we are equally prepared to protect the travel plans of our guests and to provide long-term stability and security for all employees at the WestJet Group,” Pen concluded.

AMFA made a public announcement on May 1, 2024, regarding the scheduled voting of the airline’s maintenance engineers on a work stoppage between May 2 and May 9. The union warned that if the strike is approved, it may potentially lead to flight delays and disruptions for WestJet.

“The WestJet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers are voting on a strike. We do not take this decision lightly but feel compelled to do so due to WestJet’s unreasonable negotiating. As always, our priority is the safety of our passengers. If you plan to travel by plane in the near future, please refrain from booking with WestJet, as a work stoppage may lead to unwanted delays and disruptions,” AMFA wrote in a social media post.

WestJet and AMFA have been engaged in negotiations for wage increases for aircraft maintenance engineers since September 2023.

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