WestJet pilots issue 72-hour strike notice, poised to begin job action Friday

WestJet has issued a lockout notice to the airline’s pilots after their union sent a 72-hour strike notice to the company’s management and government Monday night.

In a news release sent to CBC News, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said that as of 3 a.m. ET on May 19, the pilots plan to begin lawful job action, which could include grounding all aircraft and effectively shutting down operations right before the May long weekend. 

The WestJet Group said a work stoppage could occur as early as Friday at 3 a.m. MT. 

About 1,850 WestJet pilots with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) are poised to strike. Some of the main issues they say still need to be resolved include pay, job security and scheduling. 

“After nine months of negotiating, management still fails to understand today’s labour market conditions, leading to a mass exodus of our pilots in search of better work opportunities,” said Capt. Bernard Lewall, chair of the WestJet ALPA Master Executive Council in a release.

“More will follow if this agreement does not meet our pilots’ needs.”

Negotiations between WestJet and the pilots’ union began in September. Last month, the pilots voted in favour of a strike mandate.

WATCH | WestJet pilots picket in Calgary: 

WestJet pilots hold informational picket in Calgary as strike deadline looms

7 days ago

Duration 1:05

With a strike deadline looming, pilots with WestJet say they’re still far apart in negotiations with the company. Members of the Air Line Pilots Association held an informational picket in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary on May 8. The CBC’s Colleen Underwood was there.