WestJet Strike Cancels Flights, Disrupts Travel Plans

WestJet Strike Cancels Flights, Disrupts Travel Plans
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Canada’s sec­ond-largest air­line, West­Jet, has been forced to can­cel over 400 flights impact­ing near­ly 49,000 pas­sen­gers due to a sur­prise strike by its main­te­nance work­ers union, the Air­craft Mechan­ics Fra­ter­nal Asso­ci­a­tion (AMFA).

The union ini­ti­at­ed the strike on Fri­day evening, cit­ing West­Jet’s alleged “unwill­ing­ness to nego­ti­ate” a new con­tract despite a gov­ern­ment-man­dat­ed bind­ing arbi­tra­tion process.

This sud­den labor action dis­rupt­ed both domes­tic and inter­na­tion­al West­Jet flights, fol­low­ing weeks of tense nego­ti­a­tions between the air­line and the union. West­Jet CEO Alex­is von Hoens­broech crit­i­cized the AMFA, call­ing them a “rogue union” and the strike “unnec­es­sary” due to the arbi­tra­tion order.

How­ev­er, the AMFA nego­ti­at­ing com­mit­tee point­ed to a Cana­da Indus­tri­al Rela­tions Board (CIRB) order that did­n’t explic­it­ly pro­hib­it strikes dur­ing arbi­tra­tion. Union rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sean McVeigh, pick­et­ing at Toron­to Pear­son Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, stat­ed the strike aimed to pres­sure West­Jet back to negotiations.

West­Jet expects to oper­ate a lim­it­ed sched­ule of around 30 flights by Sun­day evening, with remain­ing air­craft ground­ed through­out the Cana­da Day long week­end. This inci­dent high­lights ongo­ing chal­lenges air­lines face in man­ag­ing labor rela­tions, espe­cial­ly when gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion falls short of resolv­ing deep­er conflicts.

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