A potential maintenance workers’ strike is again threatening to disrupt WestJet’s operations less a week after one was called off and union negotiations resumed. 

The Calgary-headquartered carrier says a work stoppage could begin as early as 28 June, potentially disrupting the flights of up to 70,000 daily passengers during the long weekend. 

WestJet Boeing 787

Source: Heather Dunbar_Shutterstock

WestJet has been grappling with labour issues on multiple fronts in recent weeks 

The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association issued a strike notice “less than one day into the parties’ mutual agreement to return to the bargaining table across four days”, WestJet says. The carrier claims to have presented a “revised industry-leading offer” to boost maintenance worker pay 22% over a four-year period. 

”The union’s ask exceeds this mark by a long shot and remains unreasonable,” WestJet says. 

The airline narrowly avoided stike action on 20 June, after pro-actively cancelling about 40 flights on 18 June in anticipation of a stoppage, attempting to avoid stranding customers, crew and aircraft in remote locations. 

But the two parties agreed to return to the negotiating table at the last minute, seemingly avoiding further network disruption. 

Diederik Pen, WestJet’s chief operating officer, says that the second strike threat is ”disheartening and unacceptable for our guests, employees and the communities and businesses that rely on our service”. 

“We sincerely regret the stress and uncertainty AMFA’s tactics are causing Canadians, deliberately targeting the busy July long weekend,” he adds. 

WestJet Group recently went through a similarly acrimonious process with its regional pilots, as the flight deck crews for WestJet Encore ratified a new five-year contract on a second attempt – and only after threatening strike action that could have disrupted the carrier’s passenger operations.