WestJet has issued a lockout in response to the 72-hour strike outlined by a union representing WestJet pilots.
A strike looms as pilots seek better working conditions, including pay. Scheduling is also at the forefront of concerns outlined by unions from their pilots.
Scheduling for pilots since the pandemic has become an increased focus as tight schedules prevent adequate rest. In a safety-sensitive role, this can lead to potentially disastrous effects.
WestJet pilots also believe that its neighbouring North American carriers, while they don’t have it good by any means, are in most cases better off than those across the border in Canada. So narrowing the difference and improving the climate for both equally is of heightened focus.
A strike from pilots, if moved ahead, could occur this coming weekend and over 72 hours in a typically busy weekend for Canadians travelling.
The lockout being issued comes as the WestJet Chief Executive notes that the implications this would have on its customer base would be catastrophic. Therefore a lockout is necessary.
WestJet says the better contract pilots are fighting for has already been handed down. They say that the demands laid out by unions better to close the bridge between transborder airlines in North America isn’t realistic given WestJet being Canadian. The offer has also been labelled as an improvement in conditions. Unions believe, though, that this isn’t enough.
As a strike looms, other Canadian operators prepare to take on WestJet passengers, but these options are limited as most struggle with already facing maximum capacity.