Canada’s WestJet cancels 235 flights over strike

Canada’s WestJet Airlines reported that, in spite of government action aimed at averting travel problems during the holiday weekend, it was had to cancel 235 flights on Saturday due to an unexpected strike by its mechanics.

In addition to the 150 flights canceled on Friday and the 25 additional ones canceled on Thursday, the nation’s second-largest airline has also announced cancellations.

The numerous cancellations in advance of Monday’s Canada Day weekend have affected over 55,000 travelers both domestically and abroad, according to one estimate from WestJet.

“This situation is devastating,” WestJet’s president Diederik Pen said in a statement, placing the blame squarely on Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which called the work stoppage.

In order to keep things stable across its remaining operations, the airline stated that it will have to cancel more flights “until the union’s irrational strike action is rescinded, or immediate intervention is received.”

When the Canadian government ordered binding arbitration to resolve a contractual disagreement over salaries and working conditions on Thursday, it seemed as though the possibility of a walk-out had been avoided.

However, the mechanics union chose to proceed on Friday night, claiming that the judgment did not forbid a strike and that “the airline’s unwillingness to negotiate with the union made the strike inevitable.”

In an attempt to set the parties on a course toward settling the conflict, Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan was scheduled to meet with them on Saturday afternoon.

WestJet serves more than 100 destinations in almost 30 countries with 198 commercial aircraft.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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