In a statement issued following Unifor’s announcement about the results of its strike authorization vote by WestJet airport employees that it represents at YYC Calgary International Airport and Vancouver International Airport, WestJet’s
Executive Vice-President and Chief People, Corporate and Sustainability Officer, Angela Avery commented:
“In response to Unifor strike authorization … This is a common step in the labour negotiation process and was not unexpected. We remain focused on successfully negotiating an agreement that provides value to our airport employees, many of whom have joined WestJet in the last year. In the meantime, we will continue to provide our guests with the friendly and affordable air travel WestJet has always been known for.”
The carrier said that it is committed to competitive compensation that recognize airport employee contributions, while ensuring the airline is positioned to return to profitability, following more than two years of unprecedented financial losses resulting from the pandemic.
As the airline rebuilds, the majority of its airports employees have been with the company for less than one year, and the vast majority of more tenured airport employees have received increases through the existing pay step structure, in addition to a Canadian industry leading variable compensation.
WestJet also noted that as Canadians make their highly-anticipated return to travel this summer, the airline is working on precautionary contingency plans, and has identified employees who may be reassigned if required.
This preventative measure is in place to ensure critical air service continuity from coast-to-coast and to protect the fragile recovery of Canada’s travel and tourism industry.
WestJet has meticulously planned for summer operations and through proactive efforts to stabilize operations and since the beginning of July leads Canadian operators with a 97.5% completion factor.
The airline continues to work closely with the federal government, third-party providers and airport partners to mitigate operational challenges that remain outside of WestJet’s control in this challenging recovery landscape.