WestJet, AMFA reach second tentative deal, AMEs head back to work, WS restoring network

WestJet and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) reached a second tentative agreement in the early hours of Canada Day (July 1).

As a result, AMFA has withdrawn its strike action and that will see the close to 700 AMEs it represents at WestJet “return to work as scheduled to immediately start work to restore the network.”

In a statement, WestJet said that the airline and AMFA had been bargaining all day Sunday (June 30) to hammer out a new tentative agreement to “prevent further damage to the Canadian public.”

Diederik Pen, President of WestJet Airlines and Group Chief Operating Officer, said: “The damage to Canadians and our airline is massive, a swift resolution was necessary; we take no victory laps on this outcome but will sleep better tonight knowing further harm has been prevented.”

Pen also emphasized: “We will see no further labour action coming out of this dispute, as both parties agree to arbitrate the contract in the case of a failed ratification.”

In its statement, WestJet pointed out that lack of clarity from the government and the decisions taken by the CIRB allowed for a strike to occur amidst binding arbitration. With no path forward to resolution, both parties made essential movements to find common ground and achieve an agreement.

AMFA, in a statement on its website, said: “… the AMFA-represented Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and WestJet have successfully negotiated a contract covering the next five years. This will end our lawful strike action against the company, effective immediately.”

Its statement continued: “As a direct result of our members’ solidarity, AMFA was able to reach a second tentative agreement (TA2) providing substantial improvements over both the current terms of employment and the terms provided for in the first tentative agreement. TA2 provides for immediate pay increases, full restoration of the WestJet Savings Plan (WSP), and improved benefits for the employees.”

The strike by its AMEs saw WestJet park 130 aircraft at 13 airports across Canada, and cancel hundreds of flights.

WestJet has started work to restore operations in a safe and timely manner. However, it warns that given the significant impact to its network over the past few days, returning to business-as-usual flying will take time and further disruptions over the coming week are to be anticipated as the airline gets aircraft and crew back into position.

Said Pen: “We want to thank guests for their patience during what was an uncertain and stressful time. I want to personally thank our teams of WestJetters who were equally thrust into the uncertainty, and who once again demonstrated their care, dedication and resilience.”

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