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UPDATE – WestJet and Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Reach Tentative Agreement, Avert Lockout

Calgary – MAY 6 UPDATE – The WestJet Group and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) the certified union representing WestJet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, announced on Monday May 6, that they have reached a tentative agreement on the first collective bargaining agreement between the organizations. Both parties now await the ratification vote to be put forward to membership.

“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 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, making them the highest paid in Canada, while delivering industry leading work-life balance standards and strong commitments to job security,” said Diederik Pen, President of WestJet Airlines and Group Chief Operating Officer. “We are grateful to have arrived at a deal, averting a work stoppage and any impact to our guests’ valued travel plans. We sincerely appreciate our guests’ patience during this time and are pleased to move forward with an unwavering focus to providing friendly, reliable and affordable air service to Canadians for years to come, as one unified team.”

“After nine months of tough negotiating, we are proud to have reached a tentative agreement that will now be presented, through the ratification process, to the hard working Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and other Technical Operations employees who go above and beyond to maintain a best-in-class culture of safety for the WestJet Group,” Will Abbott, AMFA National Region II Director, Chairman.

MAY 4 ORIGINAL STORY – On Saturday May 4, WestJet issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), the union that represents WestJet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers. As a result of today’s lockout notice, a work stoppage could occur as early as Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at 12 p.m. MT, unless a deal is reached. 

Westjet flies in and out of Abbotsford and Vancouver.

“The decision to issue a lockout notice was not one that was 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. Despite our unwavering commitment to reach a collective agreement, AMFA continues to show up to the bargaining table with unreasonable demands and expectations,” said Diederik Pen, President of WestJet Airline and Group Chief Operating Officer. “With AMFA publicly issuing a strike vote alert last week and publicly directing guests to fly with other carriers, we can’t allow the unpredictable nature and lack of progress to continue. We are left with no alternative but to issue a lockout notice in an attempt to bring this to a final resolution.”

From their Website:

Issuing a 72-hour lockout notice does not mean travel disruption will occur. However, in the coming days, the WestJet Group will take all necessary actions to manage the impacts as much as possible, including: 

Beginning preparations to operate a reduced schedule. 

Proactively managing changes and cancellations, to ensure the ability to communicate with guests in advance of their flight.  

Providing flexible change and cancel options for those who wish to make alternative arrangements. 

The WestJet Group has been in active labour negotiations with AMFA since September 2023. The WestJet Group has presented an offer to AMFA that would make WestJet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers the highest paid in Canada, with a cumulative wage increase of over 20 per cent across the span of the collective agreement. The offer would also deliver industry leading work-life balance standards and strong commitments to job security.

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