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WestJet Airlines’ Pilots Prepare For Strike

Pilots who work for WestJet Airlines are preparing for a strike that could come as early as this week, according to the group’s labour union.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents about 1,600 pilots and flight crew at WestJet and its subsidiary Swoop, said it is able to file a 72-hour strike notice any day now, though it has yet to do so.

Ongoing issues for pilots and flight crew involve job protection, pay, and scheduling, with more than 300 pilots leaving WestJet Airlines over the last two years.

In a recent statement, privately held WestJet said that its pilots are among the best paid in Canada, but that a contract like those secured by some U.S. pilot groups would put the airline’s future at risk.

Earlier this year, Delta Air Lines (DAL) pilots secured a new labour deal that includes a 34% pay increase over four years.

Labour shortages continue to plague the airline industry in Canada and abroad. Worker shortages are being experienced among pilots, air traffic controllers and baggage handlers coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

WestJet management and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) remain at the bargaining table for the time being.