April 15th, 2024

WestJet Encore pilots vote for strike mandate, adding to airline’s turbulence

By The Canadian Press on April 2, 2024.

A WestJet Boeing 737-700 aircraft taxis to the runway for departure from Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, May 19, 2023. WestJet Encore pilots could go on strike as soon as April 17 after they approved a strike mandate Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

CALGARY – WestJet Encore pilots could go on strike as soon as April 17 after they approved a strike mandate Tuesday.

The Air Line Pilots Association says aviators at WestJet’s regional carrier voted 97 per cent in favour of strike authorization after contract talks around pay and career progression came to a “near standstill.”

The 355 pilots can walk off the tarmac 72 hours after union leadership files a strike notice.

The potential job action or lockout can only take place after a 21-day cooling-off period that kicked off when federal conciliation between the two sides ended last week.

Pilot Carin Kenny, who heads the union’s WestJet Encore contingent, says its workers are among the lowest-paid regional pilots in Canada, driving some to seek jobs elsewhere.

WestJet did not immediately respond to questions on the strike mandate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2024.

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