Smiley face
Weather     Live Markets

WestJet Encore pilots have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike mandate, with 97 percent of pilots in favor of strike action if a contract is not negotiated by April 17, 2024. The 355 Encore pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA), are seeking improvements in pay, schedules, and career progression. Despite initial progress in negotiations, talks have come to a standstill, with ALPA stating that Encore pilots are among the lowest-paid regional pilots in Canada and lack stability and career advancement opportunities.

The vote for strike authorization comes just one week into a 21-day cooling-off period that was mandated as a result of federal reconciliation attempts. The union is committed to continuing negotiations 24/7 but is prepared to file a 72-hour strike notice on April 14 if contract negotiations fail. This would put the pilots in a legal strike position on April 17. WestJet Airlines president Diederik Pen stated that the company is committed to reaching an agreement with ALPA that addresses the concerns of Encore pilots, is competitive within the Canadian airline industry, and ensures a long-term sustainable future for the company.

Capt. Carin Kenny, chair of the WestJet Encore ALPA Master Executive Council, emphasized the importance of trust and stability in the industry and the company’s reputation. Kenny stated that the union’s goal is to negotiate a contract that will make working within the WestJet Group a desirable career choice once again, emphasizing the need for industry-standard contracts that are comparable to those of regional colleagues across Canada. The pilots are hoping for significant improvements in their next contract to prevent them from seeking better opportunities elsewhere.

The potential strike by WestJet Encore pilots has raised concerns about potential flight disruptions for passengers. However, the union has assured that their negotiators are committed to the bargaining process and are still actively working towards a resolution. Despite the possibility of a strike, the union remains dedicated to finding a solution through negotiation. With the filing of a 72-hour strike notice approaching on April 14, the union is prepared to take action if necessary to address the concerns of Encore pilots and achieve a fair contract that meets their needs.

The results of the strike authorization vote highlight the dissatisfaction of WestJet Encore pilots with their current working conditions and the need for improvements in pay, schedules, and career opportunities. The standoff in negotiations between the union and WestJet management reflects the challenges faced by regional pilots in Canada. Both parties are working towards finding a mutually beneficial agreement that addresses the concerns of the pilots while ensuring the long-term sustainability and success of the WestJet Group. The outcome of the negotiations and potential strike action will have significant implications for the future of WestJet Encore and its pilots.

© 2024 Globe Echo. All Rights Reserved.