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WestJet Mechanics Issue 72-Hour Strike Notice

Mechanics at privately held WestJet Airlines have issued a 72-hour strike notice and say they are planning to walk off the job as early as June 20.

The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which represents 670 aircraft maintenance workers at WestJet, says it issued the strike notice after management ended labour talks.

On June 17, WestJet asked the federal labour minister to refer negotiations to the Canada Industrial Relations Board, which would arbitrate the terms of a new collective agreement.

WestJet President Diederik Pen says arbitration will allow a neutral third party to come up with a reasonable labour agreement and will also prevent a work stoppage.

The union’s membership rejected a proposed offer from management last week, saying they are holding out for what they call an “industry-changing contract.”

In a written statement, WestJet said that the strike notice “does not mean travel disruption will occur,” though it urges travelers to check the carrier’s website regularly for schedule updates.

WestJet is privately owned. Its stock does not trade on a public exchange.