WestJet Encore pilots reject tentative agreement over ‘structural issues’ 

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | May 13, 2024

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 38 seconds.

The pilots’ union cites ongoing pilot attraction and retention issues and low morale. Galen Burrows Photo

WestJet Encore pilots have rejected a tentative collective agreement, saying their employer isn’t doing enough to address structural issues related to pilot attraction and retention. 

In a statement, the pilots’ union, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) accused WestJet Group of “using compensation to gloss over many of the core structural issues of the operation.”  

The tentative agreement, reached April 8, 2024, was narrowly defeated. Of the 92 per cent of eligible pilots who participated, only 53 per cent voted against the deal.  

“Despite contract improvements to compensation and scheduling, our pilots held strong in their belief that management isn’t doing enough to address the ongoing pilot attraction and retention issues and low morale that remain at our airline,” said Capt Carin Kenny, chair of the WestJet Encore ALPA Master Executive Council.  

“In the wake of this vote, we are hopeful management finally understands that more must be done to address the issues that clearly remain for our pilots.” 

WestJet Group was quick to point out this does not affect operations.  

“We are disappointed to learn that our WestJet Encore pilots have rejected an agreement that is distinctly competitive within Canada’s airline industry and [addresses] their unique concerns,” said Diederik Pen, president of WestJet Airlines and Group chief operating officer.  

“Our tentative agreement represented a robust negotiation process that got us to our final offer, and while we will meet with ALPA to determine next steps, we will hold firm on what is reasonable to ensure we can continue providing meaningful employment and affordable air travel to Canadians.”

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