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WestJet pilots considering strike action

Last Updated May 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm EST

A WestJet Boeing 737 plane.

If you’re planning a spring getaway with WestJet, you may need to make alternate arrangements.

680 NEWS reports the airline’s pilots are considering a strike vote, which could lead to them walking off the job as early as May 19.

Capt. Dave Calhoun, the union chairman representing Calgary pilots tells CityNews that one of the biggest issues is the outsourcing of pilots for WestJet’s new ultra-low fare carrier Swoop.

“The company right now is using pilots that aren’t WestJet pilots or is planning to use non-WestJet pilots to fly those airplanes,” he says

On the other hand, the company’s main concern is that it will need to raise costs if it has to use the current group of unionized pilots when the new service launches on June 20.

Calhoun adds that unionized pilots want some job protection, and points out that there is a worldwide shortage of pilots.

“What we need to do is negotiate working conditions and wages that attract pilots to WestJet and also retain the pilots we have,” he says.

The airline says it will provide refunds to passengers whose travel plans are disrupted by any strike action.