More flight cancellations over the long weekend due to strike: WestJet

A sudden strike by the WestJet mechanics union is forcing the airline to cancel more flights over the Canada Day long weekend, disrupting the plans of more than 49,000 travellers.

The Calgary-based airline has already cancelled a total of 407 flights over the weekend in an effort to “maintain stability.”

Most of the flights were cancelled on Saturday, with 282 trips on WestJet planes being called off.

The travel disruptions come after the Airplane Mechanics Fraternal Association members walked off the job on Friday afternoon, stating WestJet’s “unwillingness to negotiate with the union made the strike inevitable.”

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The job action comes after union members rejected a deal from WestJet earlier this month and after two weeks of tense negotiations between the two parties, which resulted in the federal government stepping in and mandating WestJet and the union go to binding arbitration.

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AMFA leadership posted a letter from the Canada Industrial Relations Board regarding its decision in which it said that the ministerial referral “does not have the effect of suspending the right to strike or lockout.”

WestJet says it’s “extremely outraged at these actions and will hold AMFA 100 per cent accountable for the unnecessary stress and costs incurred as a result.”

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan, who said the order from the Canada Industrial Relations Board was “clearly inconsistent” with the direction he provided, weighed in again on Saturday, telling both parties to work together with the board to get a deal done.

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