WestJet, unionized mechanics agree to resume talks; strike action is off the table

The threat of strike action by unionized mechanics at WestJet has been dropped after both sides agreed to return to the bargaining table.

An overnight statement says the air carrier appeared before the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to discuss arbitration options with its Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and Tech Ops employees.

“We recognize the impact the initial cancellations had on our guests and our people, and we sincerely appreciate their patience and understanding during this time,” said Diederik Pen, President of WestJet Airlines and Group Chief Operating Officer.

“In returning to the bargaining table, we are committed to finding a resolution to avoid further disruption to our operations.”

CIRB officials say both sides need more information before deciding whether arbitration is the best way to reach a first-time collective bargaining agreement.

In the meantime, both parties have jointly agreed to return to the bargaining table and continue working towards a resolution.

Union members voted overwhelmingly to reject a tentative deal last week and voiced opposition to the airline’s request for arbitration.

The WestJet Group announced the cancellation of more than 30 flights scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in anticipation of its 670 aircraft maintenance workers’ possible strike on Thursday evening.

Guests are encouraged to continue checking the status of their flights before departing for the airport. 

With files from Lucas Casaletto of CityNews Toronto

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