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WestJet must ensure Sunwing acquisition won’t hurt Canadian jobs: Unifor

TORONTO — Unifor says the Canadian government should block the WestJet Group’s takeover of Sunwing Airlines Inc. unless WestJet guarantees job creation and investments in workers.

The union says it’s concerned that the acquisition will lead to more sub-contracted work with lower wages and precarious conditions, despite WestJet’s promise of job creation.

On March 2, 2022, Sunwing and WestJet announced that WestJet would purchase Sunwing, pending regulatory approvals.

Unifor made the comments as part of its submission to Transport Canada’s Public Interest Review of the deal.

The union says Competition Bureau investigations and Transport Canada reviews don’t often factor in to how mergers affects jobs, but the union filing notes it’s in the public interest and possible under the Competition Act to secure quality job opportunities.

It says it’s concerned by WestJet’s reference in consultation documents to “crew optimization” and “improved efficiencies in operating costs,” which it says could point to cutting jobs or contracting them out.

In announcing the deal, WestJet said the acquisition will protect and create jobs, in part by shifting Sunwing’s seasonal aircraft into year-round use.

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