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Over 100,000 travelers in Canada miss flights due to strike

Over 100,000 travelers in Canada miss flights due to strike

Published :  
2 weeks ago|
Last Updated :  
2 weeks ago|

More than three-quarters of Canadian airline WestJet's flights were canceled by Sunday, according to data from FlightAware. This abrupt disruption followed the sudden strike by maintenance workers, despite federal government intervention aimed at avoiding disturbances over the long holiday weekend celebrating Canada Day.

WestJet reported the cancellation of 832 flights, impacting nearly 100,000 travelers both domestically and internationally.

The strike began on Friday evening, involving approximately 680 mechanics whose daily inspection and repair tasks are essential for flight operations. The strike ensued after unsuccessful negotiations regarding wages and working conditions.

WestJet President Diederik Pen stated on Sunday, "We continue to believe that this strike is intended to cause maximum harm to our company and the country," urging immediate federal government intervention.

The airline reduced its operational fleet to 32 aircraft from around 200 in normal times. Negotiations between the parties, facilitated by an arbitrator, continued late into Saturday night but remained unresolved and were set to resume on Sunday.

On Thursday, a collective action seemed unlikely after the federal government ordered binding arbitration to settle the wage and working condition dispute. However, the mechanics' union decided to proceed with the strike on Friday evening, asserting that the government order did not prohibit the strike and emphasizing that WestJet's refusal to negotiate made the strike inevitable.