Why did WestJet mechanics go on strike?

WestJet, Canada’s second-largest airline, has been forced to cancel over 150 flights, affecting around 20,000 passengers, due to an unexpected strike by its mechanics. The strike, initiated by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), came after a breakdown in negotiations between the union and the airline, despite recent federal intervention aimed at resolving the dispute.

The strike was triggered following a ministerial order for binding arbitration, which was intended to prevent such disruptions. However, the union proceeded with the strike, citing WestJet’s reluctance to engage in meaningful negotiations as the primary reason. This action has caused significant travel disruptions, particularly during the busy Canada Day long weekend.

WestJet has expressed strong discontent with the union’s decision, emphasizing the unnecessary strain and financial burden placed on passengers. The airline has been actively seeking ways to minimize the impact of the strike, including appealing for immediate intervention from the labor minister. Despite these efforts, the strike has led to widespread cancellations and delays, leaving many travelers frustrated and uncertain about their travel plans.

The union, representing approximately 680 mechanics, has defended its right to strike, arguing that the ministerial order did not explicitly prohibit such action. They have highlighted the airline’s failure to negotiate in good faith as a key factor in their decision to strike.

As the situation unfolds, WestJet continues to advise passengers to check their flight status before heading to the airport. The airline is operating a reduced schedule and has parked several aircraft across various Canadian stations in an effort to manage the ongoing disruptions. The strike has underscored the challenges faced by both the airline and its employees in reaching a satisfactory agreement, with significant implications for travelers during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.