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May 4: “ WestJet issues 72-hour lockout notification” and later related actions

May 4: “ WestJet issues 72-hour lockout notification” and later related actions

Old May 4, 2024, 2:33 pm
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May 4: “ WestJet issues 72-hour lockout notification” and later related actions

westjet issues 72-hour lockout notification to its tech ops union, amfa

westjet today has issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the aircraft mechanics fraternal association (amfa), the union that represents westjet aircraft maintenance engineers. As a result of today’s lockout notice, a work stoppage could occur as early as tuesday, may 7, 2024, at 12 p.m. Mt, unless a deal is reached.

issuing a 72-hour lockout notice does not mean travel disruption will occur. However, in the coming days, the westjet group will take all necessary actions to manage the impacts as much as possible, including:
  • beginning preparations to operate a reduced schedule.
  • proactively managing changes and cancellations, to ensure the ability to communicate with guests in advance of their flight.
  • providing flexible change and cancel options for those who wish to make alternative arrangements.

​​​​​​​

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; May 4, 2024 at 4:50 pm Reason: To combine consecutive posts of same member.
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Old May 4, 2024, 4:28 pm
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I was about to crap all over WS for saying they were going to provide "flexible change and cancel options for those who wish to make alternative arrangements" but not actually issuing a waiver yet, but in typical disorganized fashion, despite no details in the e-mail, there's a fairly comprehensive policy published on the website:

For all WestJet flight-only bookings for travel between May 4, 2024 - May 7, 2024, valid on all fares, including Basic:
  • A $0 CAD one-time fee waiver will be offered for changes or cancellations.* [emphasis mine]
  • If you change your destination, the difference in fare applies. Any residual funds are refunded.
  • If you change to a different aircraft cabin, the difference in fare applies. Any residual funds are refunded.
  • Travel must be completed within 60 days of original departure date.
  • If you cancel your booking, the funds will be refunded or credited based on the fare class booked; Basic will receive travel credit.
  • If you cancel your booking, any portion paid with WestJet dollars, Travel Bank credit or a WestJet rewards companion voucher will be returned to your account and the original expiration date (if applicable) will apply.
  • If you cancel your booking, any portion paid with WestJet dollars or a WestJet rewards companion voucher that has expired or is expiring within 60 days will be reinstated with a new expiry date 60 days from the date of reinstatement.
  • Change or cancellation must be requested more than 2 hours prior to original departure.

*EDIT to add: In typical WS fashion, I couldn't change my itinerary online. It wouldn't allow me to choose the correct return flight (although this is probably just because it didn't like my 49-minute immediate turn at YQQ), but even if I tried to pick a different return flight, it wanted to reprice the itinerary and charge me a hefty fare difference.

When I first phoned in, I was told there would be no change fee, but fare difference would apply. I said the waiver published online said no fee for changes, fare difference applies if you change destination or cabin (which I wasn't doing). I agree the wording is poor and leaves a gap - the first bullet doesn't explicitly mention no fare difference - but it's heavily implied by the listing of things to which fare difference does apply. The guy looked at the wording and thought I was probably right. He had to put me on hold for 15 minutes, and eventually he got confirmation from whoever needed to approve it and they were able to get it done.

The right outcome in the end, but disappointing that it doesn't seem to have been set up correctly in Sabre, or the agents haven't been advised how to do it properly, and required such a lengthy process for a very simple change.
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Last edited by Adam Smith; May 4, 2024 at 5:12 pm Reason: Add info
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Old May 5, 2024, 2:12 am
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I think it’s ridiculous that the government allows loopholes to the airlines to let them dodge compensation for cancellations caused by labour disputes. Airlines control how they manage their collective ageeements and they certainly control locking out their mechanics. Why should they get to fluff it off as uncontrollable? It really screws people over because they might now have to buy last minute tickets with other airlines and greatly inflated last minute prices. Just allowing full refunds isn’t good enough or adequate compensation.
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Old May 5, 2024, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by tiberria
I think it’s ridiculous that the government allows loopholes to the airlines to let them dodge compensation for cancellations caused by labour disputes. Airlines control how they manage their collective ageeements and they certainly control locking out their mechanics. Why should they get to fluff it off as uncontrollable? It really screws people over because they might now have to buy last minute tickets with other airlines and greatly inflated last minute prices. Just allowing full refunds isn’t good enough or adequate compensation.
Completely Agree!

The government should take it one step further by requiring the airline to rebook passengers on other airlines and pay delay compensation if applicable.
Also, passengers who have extra expenses ( missed cruise, missed sporting event, etc) should be allowed to sue airlines and their executives in situations like this as it is within management's control. Airline executives are more likely to make better decisions if they know they will also suffer financially for their wrong decisions.
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Old May 5, 2024, 8:13 am
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I think the solution in the industry to cancellations and delays in general is a 3rd party body that administers compensation, not the airlines. No questions asked on what the delay was due to, whether weather, labour disputes or equipment issues. As I calculated previously, a mandatory 20% or so added to every ticket should cover the cost of providing this coverage.
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Old May 5, 2024, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by stevendorechester
Completely Agree!

The government should take it one step further by requiring the airline to rebook passengers on other airlines and pay delay compensation if applicable.
Also, passengers who have extra expenses ( missed cruise, missed sporting event, etc) should be allowed to sue airlines and their executives in situations like this as it is within management's control. Airline executives are more likely to make better decisions if they know they will also suffer financially for their wrong decisions.
I don’t necessarily disagree … but why would only airlines and airline bosses be liable and not the unions and union bosses?

Out of all of the airline versus union battles in North America over the past couple of years, I haven’t been able to sympathize with either side.
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Old May 6, 2024, 12:20 am
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Tentative Agreement reached. Lockout is rescinded. AMFA membership will now vote on their first CA TA.

Network will continue as scheduled.
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Old May 6, 2024, 1:18 am
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Originally Posted by Fisch
Tentative Agreement reached. Lockout is rescinded. AMFA membership will now vote on their first CA TA.

Network will continue as scheduled.
Story on the WS website here, which offers nothing more than the above except for some platitudes. The waiver appears to have been taken down, so presumably operations will be normal over the next few days. Hopefully anyone who saw this as an opportunity to rearrange travel plans to their benefit was able to do so while it was up.

Last edited by Adam Smith; May 6, 2024 at 6:14 pm Reason: Corrected typo
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Old May 6, 2024, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Fisch
Tentative Agreement reached. Lockout is rescinded. AMFA membership will now vote on their first CA TA.

Network will continue as scheduled.
Funny how fast they reach a deal when they use the media to negotiate.

Ron.
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Old Jun 11, 2024, 1:13 pm
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AMFA membership voted down the TA. Word has it 97% “no” vote.
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Old Jun 18, 2024, 7:34 pm
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Here we go again. Strike notice issued by the mechanics.

WestJet mechanics serve airline with 72-hour strike notice

WestJet mechanics say they are poised to walk off the job early as Thursday night after serving the airline with a 72-hour strike notice yesterday.
​​​​​​​The airline says the strike notice “does not mean travel disruption will occur,” though it remains unclear how flights could be affected by the sudden absence of hundreds of mechanics.
Source:
https://globalnews.ca/news/10573798/...e-notice-june/

And an interesting take on the state of WestJet's maintenance from the union, here:
https://www.amfanational.org/?zone=/unionactive/view_article.cfm&HomeID=923331
​​​​​​​
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Old Jun 18, 2024, 10:49 pm
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https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/news/2...nticipation-of


The WestJet Group begins flight cancellations in anticipation of WestJet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and other Tech Ops employees' strike

June 18, 2024

This action enables proactive communication with guests and crew to minimize the potential for being stranded and ensures the airline can avoid abandoning aircraft in remote locations.

As the WestJet Group prepares for labour action by WestJet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and other Tech Ops employees, the airline has started cancelling and consolidating flights, in order to park aircraft in a safe and organized manner. This action enables proactive communication with guests and crew to minimize the potential for being stranded and ensures the airline can avoid abandoning aircraft in remote locations.

The decision to cancel flights comes as the WestJet Group awaits a response on behalf of the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to intervene under the Canada Labour Code. If accepted, this action would refer both WestJet and AMFA to arbitration for a first collective agreement and prevent labour action by either party.

“We are immensely disheartened that we are in a position where we must activate our contingency plan and begin parking aircraft, as a result of the strike notice served by AMFA. We deeply regret the disruption this will have on the travel plans of our guests, communities and businesses that rely on our critical air service,” said Diederik Pen, President of WestJet Airlines and Group Chief Operating Officer. “Following the memberships’ nearly unanimous decision to reject a generous tentative agreement that would have made our Aircraft Maintenance Engineers the highest paid in the country, with a take-home pay increase of 30 to 40 per cent in the first year of the proposed agreement, it is clear that the bargaining process has broken down.”  

In the coming 48-hours the WestJet Group will work to park aircraft, in a measured, phased and safe approach, resulting in the following cancellations.

Total cancellation summary

Tuesday, June 18 – Wednesday, June 19:
  • ~40 cancellations
Guest impact*
  • ~6,500 guests impacted
*WestJet is making every effort to reaccommodate all impacted guests

“We will continue to manage our operations to the highest degree of safety and will never compromise in this area,” concluded Pen.

Guests travelling are advised to check the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport. Please visit WestJet’s Guest Updates page for more information regarding flight status, travel changes and more. 

Cancellations for YYC-YYZ and YYC-YVR are now starting to show for Wednesday 6/19.

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; Jun 19, 2024 at 8:28 am Reason: Combine consecutive posts of same member to ease reading.
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Old Jun 19, 2024, 10:41 am
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Are we expecting most flights to continue if a strike does occur, with planes increasingly taken out of service for maintenance issue?

they’re really vague in their wording. But I guess since they’re not letting people bring forward flights on Friday/saturday, I’ll read this as not being a network grounding.

i have no idea how often a plane gets stuck and only back in the air because of maintenance being available and how not having maintenance available (in Canada anyway) will turn out.

Last edited by tecate55; Jun 19, 2024 at 10:49 am
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Old Jun 19, 2024, 10:59 pm
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CIRB has delayed decision on Arb. Parties have scheduled 4 new days of bargaining; Union strike notice rescinded.

Ops being brought back to 100% over next 24 hours.
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Old Jun 20, 2024, 10:24 am
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Great news ... and hopefully they are able to avert a strike. What a relief.

As a very frequent WestJet customer, I really can't begin to express how frustrating this is. Every few months, it seems, I become a pawn stuck between WestJet and a WestJet union. Lockout!! Strike!! Cancelling our flights and grounding our aircraft because of a lockout or a strike!! And most of it just seems like posturing and brinksmanship between the two sides, with us customers stuck in the middle.

And because I rarely go for more than three weeks without flying somewhere -- I am impacted and my work is impacted each and every time this happens. Even if the lockout or strike never happens, and even if my specific flights don't get cancelled. I still make contingency plans. I let my teams know that I may or may not be able to make it. I let my family know that I may or may not be able to be home for dinner or events or ... just family time.

In return, I get a broadcast email containing a hearty "we thank you for your continued support and loyalty" every single time. Which is starting to ring pretty hollow.

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