WestJet Pilots avert strike, but more than 100 Friday flights remain cancelled

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Toronto/CMEDIA: WestJet’s strike has been reportedly averted ahead of the May long weekend by reaching a last-minute deal with its pilots’ union.

After having cancelled  about one-third of its flight load Thursday due to the failure of negotiations with its pilots’ union,  WestJet has reported saying that it is ramping up its operations as quickly and efficiently as possible adding that the full resumption of operations, however, will take time.

WestJet is asking its passengers to continue to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport.

Following the Air Line Pilots Association’s issue of a strike notice Monday, nearly 1,800 pilots at the carrier and its Swoop subsidiary were scheduled to walk off the job early Friday.

After more than nine months of negotiations, a deal-in-principle was reached late Thursday night, the Air Line Pilots Association said in a news release shortly after 10 p.m. PT.

Higher pay and better job security and scheduling were the main bargaining points by the WestJet pilot, according to the union, which said they currently make about half as some U.S. counterparts.

The agreement “goes a long way to recognizing the value and expertise we bring to our airline every day,” said Capt. Bernard Lewall, chair of the WestJet ALPA Master Executive Council.

In the coming days, pilots will vote to ratify the agreements, Lewall said.

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