WestJet pilots file for federal conciliation; months of contract talks unsuccessfu

WestJet pilots file for federal conciliation; months of contract talks unsuccessful

CALGARY – The union that represents pilots at WestJet says it is asking for federal assistance after months of failing to reach a contract agreement with the airline.

The WestJet Master Executive Council, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), says it has filed a request for conciliation assistance with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The federal Minister of Labour now has 15 days to appoint a conciliation officer. Once appointed, the officer would work with the parties for 60 days to reach an agreement.

If both parties remain at an impasse following this period, a 21-day cooling-off period begins before the parties can consider other alternatives, including a strike or lockout.

ALPA, which represents approximately 1,800 pilots at WestJet and its low-cost subsidiary Swoop, says it has been negotiating unsuccessfully with Calgary-based WestJet since September.

The pilots’ first union contract, which expired at the end of 2022, was the result of an arbitrated settlement reached in 2018. That settlement averted a threatened pilots’ strike, as WestJet pilots had voted in favour of job action after contract talks fell apart.

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