Just a few weeks ago, we were writing a post praising WestJet’s move to takeover Sunwing. The hope was that with the merger, WestJet would be able to somewhat compete with Air Canada, the most dominant Canadian airline. But before WestJet can give Air Canada a run for their money, it looks like they have to take care of their own house first.
The union representing WestJet pilots is planning a strike authorization vote.
When is the vote to strike
Tomorrow (April 3, 2023) is going to be a crucial vote for 1,600 union members to determine whether they will authorise a strike. If they do vote in favour of striking, the strike is expected to be held several weeks later. Which means, there is still time for both sides to come to an agreement.
According to the union, there are 3 main issues that still need to be ironed out:
- Better job protection
- Wage increases, to be more on par with other North American airlines
- More work-life balance
According to WestJet, they seem more tight lipped, as they remain positive that there will be a resolution before a strike occurs.
Those are some heavy topics to work on. On the one hand, the union argues that WestJet is loosing employees and need to up their compensation packages to retain their employees. On the other hand, how much does WestJet have to loose to drag this out?
Various thoughts come to mind. Here are the two extremes that I see. On one end, is WestJet really that desperate for employees that they will end up caving to the pilots? If that is their position, I can see WestJet waiting till the last minute to come to an agreement so that the pilots will continue to lower their demands and then cave into the demands. On the other extreme, if the pilots do not compromise enough, is WestJet strong enough to let go of all their pilots and start from scratch?
I doubt WestJet is going to push the reset button, but pilots may want to keep in mind that there are Sunwing employees coming over soon. Maybe not soon enough for WestJet, but reinforcements are eventually coming over.
Either way, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I do strongly suggest that passengers monitor their upcoming WestJet flights carefully as the situation seems very volatile.