Sunday, July 21, 2024

WestJet and Swoop strike narrowly averted after last minute tentative agreement reached


After three days of negotiations and a 72-hour stalemate, the WestJet Group and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) came to a tentative agreement for increased wages for Swoop and WestJet pilots. 

On May 15th, ALPA announced they would be issuing a 72-hour notice of a strike if the pilots they represent did not get an increase in wages. 

The union strategically chose this week to issue such a notice — with May long weekend approaching the WestJet Group had little choice but to come to the bargaining table, or they would be risking cancelling all their flights.

ALPA gave the WestJet Group until 2 a.m. PST on May 19th to meet their terms or make a deal or else they would set their picket lines and thousands of travellers would have to cancel their trips.

At around midnight on May 19th, just two hours before the deadline, the WestJet Group announced they came to a tentative agreement with ALPA.


“The WestJet Group is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement that is industry-leading within Canada and recognizes the important contributions of our valued pilots by providing meaningful improvements to job security and scope, working conditions and wages,” said Alexis von Hoensbroech, CEO of WestJet Group. 

“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.”

On Thursday, May 18th, the WestJet Group began to bring their aircrafts back to centralized air terminals and cancelling select flights in order to do so. Now the company claims they are ramping their services back up in anticipation of the agreement being ratified. 

Both parties are now waiting for ALPA members to take an online vote as to whether or not the terms of the agreement are satisfactory. 

The details of the tentative agreement have not yet been made public at the time of this publication. 

Curtis Blandy

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