WestJet, AMFA strike averted as minister of labour steps in

The strike by WestJet’s mechanics has been averted.

Canada’s federal minister of labour, Seamus O’Reagan said in a statement that: “As Minister of Labour, I am using my authorities under the Canada Labour Code to further the goals of last week’s Section 80 referral to help the parties reach their first collective agreement.”

Minister O’Reagan’s statement continued: “I have directed the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to impose final binding arbitration to resolve outstanding terms of the collective agreement.”

Minister O’Reagan had referred WestJet and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) on June 18 “to help them find a path towards reaching their first collective agreement. But the parties still remain far apart today, and tensions have only increased since last Tuesday.”

In a statement following the Minister’s announcement, WestJet said that it “acknowledges the Minister’s direction to secure industrial peace, and AMFA has confirmed they will abide by the direction. Given this, a strike or lockout will not occur, and the airline will no longer proceed in cancelling flights.

Diederik Pen, President of WestJet Airlines and Group Chief Operating Officer, said: “With the government’s actions, the summer travel plans of Canadians have been protected and we have a path to resolution. We recognize the significant impact the initial cancellations continue to have on our guests and our people, and we sincerely appreciate their patience and understanding as we resume operations.”

The airline also said that it is ramping up its operations as quickly and efficiently as possible, while ensuring the highest degree of safety. Guests are encouraged to continue checking the status of their flights before departing for the airport.