Strike Threat Adds Uncertainty At WS, Spurs Gamesmanship

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Lyell Farquharson with Open Jaw's Nina Slawek.

Facing the prospect of a potential strike – especially the first in an airline’s history – is not an easy place to be. But that’s where WestJet finds itself today.

“As you may have seen, ALPA is holding a strike authorization vote amongst WestJet Pilots,” says Lyell Farquharson, VP of Sales, in a letter to industry partners. “This does not include WestJet Encore Pilots. The strike vote began yesterday and closes 10MAY, 2018.” 

Farquharson says the airline’s President and CEO Ed Sims is committed to negotiating a successful pilot deal, avoiding a potential strike.

“I understand this development seems worrying, and we are taking it very seriously, but strike mandates are a relatively common collective bargaining strategy and do not mean that a strike will take place,” Farquharson said.

“We remain focused on working with ALPA and continuing the momentum we have achieved through the bargaining process, which is scheduled to continue in April, May and June. We are confident we will reach a successful conclusion.”

Part of the problem for WestJet is that pax may choose to book elsewhere due to the uncertainly caused by a strike vote. And in a press release yesterday, major rival Air Canada fanned those flames a bit.

“Air Canada today said it is ready to adjust its schedules and capacity to limit disruptions for the traveling public and to ensure that customers get to their destinations in the event of a labour disruption at WestJet,” a statement read.  

“We know that people travel for a variety of reasons and as the busy summer period approaches, we appreciate that the travelling public may be feeling anxious about their plans resulting from the uncertainty associated with potential labour disruptions at WestJet. With our extensive network and varied fleet, we are well placed to accommodate passengers disrupted by this situation.”

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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